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For Girls
(& Others)

Shanna Compton

January 2008
Trade Paper Original
ISBN: 978-0-6151-6697-1
80 pp. | $15.00


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In her second collection, Shanna Compton leads readers on a lightly satirical tour through various works of advice for young women, including antique etiquette manuals, 19th-century sermons, pseudoscientific physiology textbooks, newspaper clippings, and the Internet.

Counseling girls on everything from fashion to family, the multiple personae in For Girls (& Others) clamour to convey their contradictory (and often ridiculous) wisdom, as their polyvocal cacophony pitches toward hysterical heights.

All three of Shanna's books are available from Bloof. (Check out the bundle deal here.)

Shanna Compton is the author of the poetry collections Down Spooky, For Girls (& Others), Brink, and several chapbooks. The Seam, a book-length speculative poem, is forthcoming in 2013. She is also the editor of a collection of essays on the topic of video games, Gamers. Her work has been widely published, including in the Best American Poetry series, Poetry Daily, Poem-A-Day/PoemFlow by the Academy of American Poets, the Awl, Black Warrior Review,  and the Poetry Foundation website. For more information, see

Sample poems from For Girls (& Others):

Three in Dusie

One in Jumps Journal

A podcast of Shanna reading several poems from For Girls (& Others) at the Bowery Poetry Club (PennSound)

Praise for
For Girls (& Others)

Though Shanna Compton's second full-length book will probably get noticed first for its quasi-gender studies focus, the ironic tone and muscularly discursive lines of For Girls (& Others) mark it as first-rate poetry first, a lesson in articulating individual identity in a public sphere. Compton owns her project--a kind of contemporary primer for girls that, in revealing how far we've come, indicates we haven't strayed far enough from the ideas of the 19th-century handbook that serves as impetus for some of the poems. Luckily, we have Compton's voice to help guide us. [...] Lingustic virtuosity is a solid draw as well. Those who've read Compton's first collection, Down Spooky, already know her to be adept at torquing language in a way that reveals not simply multiple meanings, but multiple registers. [...] Throughout, Compton uses syntax and lineation to provide some of the punch. Simultaneously reverent and irreverent, For Girls (& Others) is a complex work on identity and the forces we all work against to assert it.

—Nate Pritts, Rain Taxi

In For Girls (& Others), Shanna Compton comman-deers the prim, repressed language of antique advice books for girls and deftly manipulates it into sub-version. Compton shows that while the style of these books is outmoded, the constricting messages they espouse are still, unfortunately, very much the norm. This collection made me laugh; it made me angry; it made me not shave my legs today.

—Recommended by
Sheila A.,

"'For Girls,' the first of the two sequences that make up the book, responds to, reacts against and takes many phrases from an 1882 'health manual' with the same title: its advice on fashion, bodies and morals gives rise, in Compton's hands, to quirky but politically pointed verse. 'Comedy of Manners,' the second sequence, [...] hints of romantic narrative, frequent sarcasm, riffs on found texts and ambitious range of diction (from elaborate to vulgar) all serve Compton's consistent interest in how and whether the culture will ever let girls grow up."

—Publishers Weekly

"The text of the poems [in For Girls (& Others)], culled from a variety of other sources as well, presents an unceasing attack on female humanity for the sake of perceived femininity (“never let them see you perspire”). The prevailing and unabashed objectification of women should not come as a surprise in a text that predates universal suffrage, however Compton makes her point inside the many surviving prejudices. When Britney Spears shearing her golden locks is followed with such intense public zeal, surely the unwritten gender rules continue to be heeded. Using this critique as her context, Compton delivers the unexpected other side of the coin, reaching beyond the politics on the surface and delivering delicately crafted and amusing poems."


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