Kenneth O'Shaughnessy

Molting Season, poetry, Issue 23, June 1, 2013

Birthdate? March 29, 1970

When did you start writing? I started writing in the fourth grade at Cherry Street Elementary in Phoenix, NY to spice up my vocabulary word papers. These were adventures about a character completely different from me, as evidenced by the name I gave him, “Kenneth Irishman”.

When and what and where did you first get published? Like most poets, I was originally published in one of those books that you can get a copy of for only $49.95. I have also had a poem printed in the August 2012 edition of Underneath the Juniper Tree, a macabre journal for children. Self-publishing has been my primary outlet; my poetry collections from the past several months and a children’s book can be found on Amazon:

What themes do you like to write about? I weave religion into many of my works, but I mainly just like the way words feel as they rub up against each other in different ways. Most of my pieces started with a phrase that began to gather other phrases around it for the company. I spent six months trying to write at least one poem a day, so I was constantly inviting words over to play. As a result, I have a fairly eclectic oeuvre.

What books and/or stories have most resonated with you as an author? Why? I like authors that use words in unusually effective ways. The fiction of G. K. Chesterton, the works of Ray Bradbury, and a picture book by Jules Feiffer called Bark, George! are primary examples.

How do these stories and their characters find expression in your work? I strive to use words as concisely as possible to achieve the desired effect. Sometimes, the best surprise is in what the author did not have to say.

Kenneth A O’Shaughnessy lives in Simpsonville, SC with his wife and several children. When he is not writing, he works full time as a data engineer and attends church. He recently spent six months trying to write a poem a day, and was successful if you take an average. He is working to publish several children’s picture books, and the first middle reader book in his Meals With Monsters series.