Chapbook: Blueprints for a Minefield

“A chapbook is a small collection of poetry, generally no more than 40 pages, that often centers on a specific theme, such as exotic foods or wild animals or Justin Bieber.”
– Writers’ Digest.

Sorry, no Justin Bieber here. Cover_Blueprints-600x600

Blueprints for a Minefield
Shauna Robertson
Fair Acre Press, 2016

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How far would you go to attract, hold onto or lose a lover? In Blueprints for a Minefield, we find women trying their luck with Jesus, marrying trees and plotting murder. One male suitor makes a dessert of himself while another takes mortal risks on a trapeze. James Dean returns from the dead. A fish covets a bicycle. Will anyone find their green grass, their grapefruit moon?


Blueprints for a Minefield won the inaugural Fair Acre Press International Poetry Pamphlet Competition in 2016, judged by Costa Poetry Award-winner Jonathan Edwards. It was subsequently selected as one of four contemporary chapbooks to be taught on Bath University’s BA Creative Writing programme.

“In these emotive reflections on modern relationships, the formal range – from sestina to prose poem to playscript to Oulipo-inspired textual experiment – is dazzling. Poems like ‘Lead Me on with My Eyes Blindfolded’ and ‘The Woman Who Married an Oak’ are laugh-out-loud funny.

Above all, though, it is the astonishing originality of Shauna Robertson’s voice – ‘If the hair could be blonder still and grown and grown until it transcends state lines,’ ‘I’m not against standing up straight so long as I don’t look too tall or too short or too medium or like a loudspeaker’ – that stands out.”
– Jonathan Edwards

“Witty, energetic and original, Shauna Robertson’s Blueprints for a Minefield is a delightful read and a most welcome debut.”
– Carrie Etter

“Blueprints for a Minefield is full of standout poems. Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, this is a wholly original pamphlet.”
– James O’Leary, Sabotage Reviews (read the full review)

If Alice wanted to impress the Queen of Hearts with poetry, this is the book she would read.”
– David Troman, Orbis literary magazine (issue 178, Winter 2016)

“This debut pamphlet signals the arrival of a lively, playful and remarkably distinctive poetic voice.”
– Jenny Danes, (read the full review) 

Sample poem

The Axe

The day we met, I started work on the axe.
By the time you promised to love me forever,
it was done. Now, how to swing it?

Fetched string, tied it to the kitchen light.
Fired arrows at it while you whipped up
oysters kilpatrick, beef bourguignon. It held strong.

Poised it over the shed door. Hadn’t clocked
your reluctance to mow. Long grass grew
over the spatchcocked fox my lolling axe slew.

Laid it in the dead centre of the bed between us.
You climbed in with me on my side,
held me tight all night.

To buy time, I aped some sunken sister on TV –
hid my weapon in the arse-end of the deep freeze.
You found it. Made me axe ice-cream.

It melted. I promised to love you forever.
Started work next morning
on blueprints for a minefield.