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Shane Seely

Shane Seely’s The Surface of the Lit World was selected by Sarah Linsday for the 2014 Hollis Summers Prize from University of Ohio Press. His first book, The Snowbound House, won the 2008 Philip Levine Prize in Poetry and was published by Anhinga Press in 2009. Slash Pine Press published his chapbook, History Here Requires Balboa, in 2012. His poems have appeared in journals nationwide, including The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Notre Dame Review, and Antioch Review, and have been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. Shane is a graduate of the MFA program at Syracuse University.


Book Publications
The Surface of the Lit World (Ohio UP-Swallow, 2015); The Snowbound House (Anhinga Press, 2009)

Journal Publications: Cave Wall, The Florida Review, Image, New South, Notre Dame Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, The Southern Review, Tar River Poetry, West Branch, Willow Springs

heavenlake  surface cover


Shane Seely Online 

Poems from The Snowbound House: Featured on Art of the Rural and Another
On Verse Daily
Work available at Architrave Press
Four Poems at Sweet
Poems in Passages North


A Poem

Spider Laisse

Unknotting knots of blankets tied in sleep
the night before, I find a tiny creature:
a spider shaken from its dark now seeks
another dark, now spiders across the sheet
toward whatever safe spot might relieve
it of its sudden pain of light and fear.
In the bathroom, where you’re brushing your teeth,
you don’t hear my startled gasp at seeing
it. I lay my hand, palm up, between
the spider and your pillow’s shadowed pleats.
It raises filamentous legs to feel
along my edge. No recluse, wolf, or weaver,
this spider is a stranger, strange to me
as my hand is to him: its warmth, its creases,
its sudden pose of slack passivity.
The spider skirts my hand and disappears
over the bed’s far edge, leaving only
a strand of thread marking his retreat.
Could I blame him? What platform could appear
that I would not suspect was mere deceit?
In what great reaching hand would I believe?


Courses Shane Seely Teaches

Graduate Courses:
English 5100: Graduate Workshop in Poetry
English 5950: Form and Theory in Poetry Writing
English 5190: Literary Journal Editing (Natural Bridge)
English 5200: MFA Readings
English 6000: MFA Thesis 

Undergraduate Courses
English 3030: Poetry Writing
English 4130: Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop 
English 4950: Special Topics: Creative Non-Fiction


Shane Seely on Teaching MFA Workshops

"The workshop should open our poems up and help us to see them in new ways. It should help us see their problems, but also their great possibilities, even beyond what we intended for them. We get that insight by sharing our work with intelligent, interested, supportive readers—readers who will value what we write and hold us to our very highest standard. That standard is the poet’s own, the one set by her own tendencies and aspirations. I want each poet to produce her best work, not the best poem that I can best prescribe from my seat at the head of the table. The workshop is a rare, wonderful moment where readers and writer can collaborate, can share their impressions and their impulses—for the good of the poem. The workshop is a site of sustained, writerly conversation about writing poems: the craft, the inspiration, the self-doubt, the meticulous attention to detail. What could be better?"

Recommended Novels and Story Collections

Some Favorite, Collected/Selected:

Some Recommended Titles From The Last 30 (or so) Years:

Some Favorite Poems To Teach:

Books About Writing Poems:


Contact Information

Office: 457 Lucas Hall

Email: seelys@umsl.edu

Phone: 314-516-5856

Shane Seely, MFA Program
University of Missouri - St. Louis
One University Boulevard
St. Louis MO 63121