Another review of (CREATURE SOUNDS FADE)!

“In a collection that is two parts feral eco-poetry, and one part stingingly personal reflection, New Jersey writer Shanna Compton uses re-engineered punctuation as the soundtrack to her crucial work. Here, the woods and the animals do not merely appear as backdrops and extras, they are creatures in coexistence with the speaker, sometimes mingling until the narrative voice and the wilderness are indistinguishable from one another.”

“Readers of Camille Dungy, or Mary Oliver fans looking for something with teeth, will find this collection vital to their bookshelves.”

Read the rest in Bridge Eight. Thank you to the editors and to (the appropriately named!) reviewer, Shannon Wolf.

First review of (CREATURE SOUNDS FADE)!

Screenshot of review‘s opening paragraph and book cover image at

“The latest title from Lambertville, New Jersey poet, artist and book designer Shanna Compton is (Creature Sounds Fade) (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), a collection of poems predominantly built of single-page lyric narrative sketch-works, as multiple of her poems give the simultaneous impression of quick thought and deep consideration. Her poems move across the page at quite a speed, from a human interior to an exterior and engagement with landscape and eco-concerns, enough that the two seeming-poles become nearly indistinguishable. ‘The picked edges of the birches’ / bitter bark,’ she writes, to open the poem ‘Paper Trees,’ ‘Red-gold admixture / of mind      a fleeting logical thread / she keeps tangling around / her spindle body [.]’ Compton plays with familiar landscapes and phrases fragmented and re-formed, twisting expectations and direction, constantly darting between lines, between trees, in an out of view in simultaneous outreach and retreat. Compton writes through a voice akin to something wild, something feral, one hesitant to step to far towards an encroaching array of human activity. “My love I am a tangled I am choked & salted,” she writes, to open “Shorn Fur,” “My love I am feeling the itch of the buds soon to burst from my skin [.]”

Read the rest:

And the book is 40% off during Black Lawrence Press’s Holiday Sale! Use code HOLIDAY40 at checkout to receive this discount on all in-print titles through December. Link:


A friend holding her copy of (CREATURE SOUNDS FADE)

The official publication date is now November 15, but copies are back from the printer and Black Lawrence has started shipping out the preorders!

I’m thinking of some alternate ways to virtually celebrate, since I can’t do the reading trips I’d originally planned. (Turns out I’m not really all that comfortable on Zoom, reading to an empty room! Not to mention the lack of closed captions, which are kinda essential, considering. It’s such an odd time to try to launch the thing, but here we are, and it’s a bright spot in this dark, weird, disconnected year.)

If you’d like a copy, see Black Lawrence Press or SPD. Here are the links:

Closed Caption collage series

I’m working on a series of 50 collages using found imagery and closed-caption sound effects, which will be going to the first 50 people to preorder (CREATURE SOUNDS FADE) from Black Lawrence. A visual take on the method behind many of the poems in the book, the sound effects are more disjunctive in the collages, in the same way they often lag in realtime or live video, referring to imagery that has already flicked off screen. Each is 5 x 7 inches. There are more details (and alt text descriptions) at Instagram.

(This post will be updated as I go.)

(CREATURE SOUNDS FADE) now available for preorder

Cover painting: “until the end of the world” by Kim Kimbro

It has a cover! And I love it.

Everything is weird & all my launch events have been canceled or postponed indefinitely, but I am nevertheless excited and grateful the book is still coming out as planned.

I hope you will take a look, and consider preordering a copy. Preorders are a few bucks off, and remain the very best way to support small presses.

This collection is, from the get-go, parenthetical, by which I mean layered horizontally in voice, architecture, inflection, and sound—the sound of the ever-fading world, and the soundtrack of the human interior. The tone is a shimmering dread with a backbeat of wonder, and the reigning approach to the line is the caesura—gaps, silences, and redactions. Everything teeters, transmogrifies; even the speaker’s dress shifts from “delicate bushbean pink” to “tufted crest titmouse gray” and then into something like song: “My dress  my dress / o mess of shabbiness…” Shanna Compton has managed to write poems that are utterly of the moment—“Oh vomitous intimacy!”— while harkening back to archetype, to the timeless strangeness of the natural world, imagination’s source: “the river/ the gold-green blur of trees,” steadying, sweet, a “clear rivulet of water across the sandy waste.” This collection met my thirst right where it lives. “Fellow navigators,” I urge you to read it. —Diane Seuss

Poems in (CREATURE SOUNDS FADE) slip through cracks into other worlds a little unfamiliar and they insist on the urgency of making what is unfamiliar familiar. You have to see how these poems sound in your head.  As private and public exchange places with one another, we’re let in to Compton’s poems, we’re invited to provide the variable. —Dara Wier

Shanna Compton’s poems turn corners you wouldn’t know were there if she weren’t listening for them, locating them in order to give them away, listening to what’s there and what’s left out. Her astonishing feel, sound by sound, for shapeliness sprung from the edges and detail of lived experience, and her intense commitment to deep listening, are antidotes for and tough pushback against the constant threat of total immobility we all face every day. —Anselm Berrigan

You can read more about it here.

Upcoming readings & appearances

Shanna Compton reading at Stain Bar in Brooklyn. She is wearing a yellow dress and holding a book, under a blue spotlight.

Full details on the calendar page.


Saturday, March 7, 10–4
Whale Prom Alternative Bookfair

Offsite during AWP 2020
Brick at Blue Star
108 Blue Star


Saturday, April 4, 2:30–4
LitLife Poetry Conference
Panel: Developing a Manuscript

Hirsch Community Center
Rosemont College


Saturday & Sunday, April 18–19, 9–5
New Orleans Poetry Festival Bookfair

New Orleans Healing Center
2372 St Claude


Saturday, April 25, time TK
with Tom McAllister & others TBD

Inkwood Books
31 Kings Hwy East