Shoshauna Shy


Shoshauna Shy founded the Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf program in 2004 with the mission of placing poetry in public places where it is not expected. Most recent projects involve poems distributed via maple syrup companies, and partnerships with Cowfeather Press and Madison B-Cycle. Read up on these She also initiated the Woodrow Hall Jumpstart Award for other Wisconsin poets who want to implement programs where poetry is brought to the public in unconventional ways. Read up on this at the website as well.

Shoshauna's poems have been published by The Los Angeles Review, The Seattle Review, Sojourn: A Journal of the Arts, Crate, RHINO, Poetry Northwest, and others. She won First Place in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Triad Contest in 2002; three of her poems were finalists in the Wisconsin Academy Review Poetry Contest in 2004 and the Wisconsin People & Ideas contest in 2010, and one of her poems was selected for the Poetry 180 Library of Congress program launched by Billy Collins. Her collection What the Postcard Didn’t Say won an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association in 2008, and her mixed-media assemblage incorporating a poem titled “Saturday Night in Cheyenne” was a finalist for Best of Show at the International Society of Human Ethology conference on the University of Wisconsin campus in 2010. Shoshauna works for the Wisconsin Humanities Council, and helped create, coordinate and facilitate poetry programs for the annual Wisconsin Book Festival in downtown Madison from 2002 to 2011.

What the Postcard Didn't Say (Zelda Wilde Publishing, 2007), full-length collection - $11.95
White Horses on Sale for a Song (Parallel Press, 2005) - $10.00
Slide Into Light: Poems of the Brighter Moments (Moon Journal Press, 2001) - $8.00
Souped-Up on the Must-Drive Syndrome (Pudding House Publications, 2000) - $8.95


I'm the Future Ex
Bill Meets in
Saratoga Springs

at a Citgo station.
I am still married
and neither of us suspects
I will become my husband’s ex,
then Bill’s live-in girlfriend.
Next I’m his almost-fiancee

till drunken hijinks
with his best friend
gets me pregnant.
As things go, I miscarry;
Bill forgives me; we get
back together; we break up.
This goes on for years

while he travels to Key West
and dates someone else’s wife.
Meanwhile, I give birth
to a couple of his kids;
we get a license;
we have a wedding,
but before I know it
all hell breaks loose

and I’m his ex, Bill’s very own ex.
I figured I was olly olly in free
but as Bill says, guy reaches 40,
he’s bound to have an ex;
maybe even two.
This makes for a handy excuse
when my successor, a pretty
wanna-be-Mrs named Alyssa
prepares to present her case.
Bill can shake his head

and damn if that’s not all it takes
for her to know she should get real
or get gone—It won’t get any better
than this.

First published by Stoneboat

The Best Way to Read Lorine Niedecker's Poems

First wander through Emerald Grove's antique store
amongst fishing nets and rusty kerosene lamps
for a spitbox in which to plant Queen Anne's lace.

Unpin dishtowels from a clothesline
and notice how the leaves
of the neighboring poplar
shimmy in the wind.

Enter a cabin that has been sitting empty
while its owners take a cross-country train
to New York.

With her book on your lap, cup the chin
of a cat as it sprawls beside you
on a windowsill, the breeze thick
with the scent of cherry blossoms.

Remember how your husband's former fiancée
whose pregnancy was terminated
asked to come visit, couldn't take her eyes
off your little boy.

First published by Wisconsin Academy Review