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Shane Seely

shane seely

Shane Seely’s most recent book of poems, The First Echo, was published in 2019 by LSU Press. In 2014,  The Surface of the Lit World was selected by Sarah Linsday for the 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 First Echo (LSU Press 2019); The Surface of the Lit World (Ohio UP-Swallow, 2015); The Snowbound House (Anhinga Press, 2009)

  snowbound house surface cover

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

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 2030: Poetry Writing Jumpstart
English 3030: Improving on the Blank Page: Writing Poetry
English 4130: A Machine Made of Words: Writing Your Best Poems 
English 4150: 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 Books

Some Favorite Collected/Selected:

  • R. Ammons, Collected Poems
  • Elizabeth Bishop, The Complete Poems: 1927-1979
  • Gwendolyn Brooks, Selected Poems
  • Lucille Clifton, Collected Poems
  • Robert Frost, The Poetry of Robert Frost
  • Robert Hass, The Apple Trees at Olema
  • Philip Larkin, Collected Poems
  • Larry Levis, The Selected Levis
  • Robert Lowell, Collected Poems
  • Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
  • Muriel Rukeyser, Out of Silence
  • Gary Soto, New and Selected
  • Wallace Stevens, The Palm at the End of the Mind
  • Richard Wilbur, Collected Poems
  • James Wright, Above the River

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

  • Hanif Abdurraqib, A Fortune for your Disaster
  • Dan Beachy-Quick, North True, South Bright
  • Marianne Boruch, Grace, Fallen From
  • Michael Burkard, The Entire Dilemma
  • Geffrey Davis, The Night Angler
  • H. Fairchild, The Art of the Lathe
  • H. Fairchild, The Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest
  • Nicky Finney, Head Off and Split
  • Aracelis Girmay, The Black Maria
  • Ross Gay, The Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
  • Louise Glück, The Wild Iris
  • Kevin Goodan, In the Ghost-House Acquainted
  • Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets
  • Donika Kelly, Bestiary
  • Li-Young Lee, Rose
  • Philip Levine, What Work Is
  • Campbell McGrath, Road Atlas
  • S. Merwin, The Vixen
  • Malena Morling, Ocean Avenue
  • Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Oceanic
  • Sharon Olds, The Gold Cell
  • Anthony Piccione, For the Kingdom
  • Tim Seibles, Hurdy Gurdy
  • E. Stallings, Olives
  • Kerri Webster, The Trailhead
  • Monica Youn, Blackacre

Some Favorite Poems To Teach:

  • Elizabeth Bishop, “Sestina”
  • Gwendolyn Brooks, “The Lovers of the Poor”
  • Lucille Clifton, “Homage to my Hips”
  • Rita Dove, “Sunday Greens”
  • Stephen Dunn, “Decorum”
  • S. Eliot, “Preludes”
  • Lynn Emanuel, “Frying Trout While Drunk”
  • Robert Frost, “Out, Out—”
  • Ross Gay, “To the Fig Tree on 9th and Christian”
  • Louise Glück, “Gretel in Darkness”
  • Robert Hayden, “Middle Passage”
  • Seamus Heaney, “Digging”
  • Anthony Hecht, “More Light! More Light!”
  • Philip Larkin, “The Mower”
  • Li-Young Lee, “Eating Together”
  • Thomas Lux, “Little Tooth”
  • Robert Lowell, “Skunk Hour”
  • Sylvia Plath, “Black Rook in Rainy Weather”
  • Muriel Rukeyser, “Waiting for Icarus”
  • Tim Seibles, “Midnight: The Coyote, Down in the Mouth”
  • E. Stallings, “Olives”
  • Wallace Stevens, “The Snow Man”

Books About Writing Poems:

  • Alfred Corn, The Poem’s Heartbeat
  • Donald Hall (ed.), Claims for Poetry
  • Robert Hass, Twentieth Century Pleasures
  • Richard Hugo, Triggering Town
  • William Stafford, Writing the Australian Crawl
  • Ellen Bryant Voigt, The Art of Syntax
  • Dean Young, The Art of Recklessness