Shayla Lawson

Shayla Lawson (Poetry) | Portland, OR

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Author Name is (and / or, at times, has been) an amateur acrobat, an architect, a Dutch housewife, & dog mother to one irascible hound. Her work has appeared in print and online at ESPN, The Offing, Guernica, Colorado Review, Barrelhouse, The Journal, South Dakota Review, Winter Tangerine Review, 111O, inter|rupture, PLUCK!, Indiana Review, & MiPOesias (among others). She is the former Nonfiction Editor of Indiana Review, the inaugural winner of Sou’Wester’s Robbins Award in Poetry, honorably mentioned in the back of the 2016 Pushcart Anthology, & author of three poetry collections: A Speed Education in Human Being, PANTONE, & the forthcoming I Think I’m Ready to See Frank Ocean. Her work has been supported by fellowships provided through Callaloo, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Giorgio Cini Foundation of Venice, Italy, & The Peggy Guggenheim Collection. She is a member of The Affrilachian Poets.


A Speed Education in Human Being (Sawyer House Press, 2013). Poetry.

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Blurbs, Press & Reviews

Shayla Lawson’s PANTONE poems first caught my attention when she sent one for inclusion in 111O/6. They are graceful, direct, and have an inventiveness with image and language that I prize. PANTONE will catch you off guard with its gaze: now angular, now playful, now forthright, now reticent. They refuse singularity, in the way a prism does; like a prism, they, too, force us to see how color functions.
—Éireann Lorsung

In PANTONE, Shayla Lawson is writing Mark Rothko alive. Here is a book that pretends to be small but is, in fact, a cathedral: an infinite room of self and other—a space in which, if you enter it with slow attention, stand quiet and peer, stare into its boxes of color, your soul just might awake.
—Rebecca Gayle Howell

PANTONE‘s dazzling achievement is the vitality Shayla Lawson brings to the spectrum of consciousness, through layerings of cyclonic and riveting imagery and virtuosic word-music her lines bring to life our old tired narratives, giving us new ways to see and perceive the world.
—Catherine Bowman

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