Denise Duhamel University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3554.U3968B58 2013 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award.
In Blowout, Denise Duhamel asks the same question that Frankie Lyman & the Teenagers asked back in 1954—"Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" Duhamel's poems readily admit that she is a love-struck fool, but also embrace the "crazy wisdom" of the Fool of the Tarot deck and the fool as entertainer or jester. From a kindergarten crush to a failed marriage and beyond, Duhamel explores the nature of romantic love and her own limitations. She also examines love through music, film, and history—Michelle and Barak Obama's inauguration and Cleopatra's ancient sex toy. Duhamel chronicles the perilous cruelties of love gone awry, but also reminds us of the compassion and transcendence in the aftermath. In "Having a Diet Coke with You," she asserts that "love poems are the most difficult poems to write / because each poem contains its opposite its loss / and that no matter how fierce the love of a couple / one of them will leave the other / if not through betrayal / then through death." Yet, in Blowout, Duhamel fiercely and foolishly embraces the poetry of love.
Denise Duhamel University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009 Library of Congress PS3554.U3968K33 2009 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Ka-Ching! is a book of poems that explores America’s obsession with money. It also includes a crown of sonnets about e-bay, sestinas on the subjects of Sean Penn and the main characters of fairytales, a pantoum that riffs on a childhood riddle, and a villanelle inspired by bathroom grafitti.
"Somewhere between Sex and the City, Sharon Olds and Spalding Grey lies the poetry of Denise Duhamel, who in six volumes during the 1990s (all from small independent or small university presses) established herself as a vivacious, sarcastic, uninhibited and sometimes sex-obsessed observer of contemporary culture. Long fascinated by downtown New York, Duhamel got poetic mileage from her once-rough neighborhoods. Now she lives and teaches in Miami: this new-and-selected sums up her NYC years . . . Its humor, anger and forceful personality could make the book a genuine popular hit." --Publishers Weekly
"Duhamel is an entertainer, as her new, retrospective collection confirms. . . . Throughout the book, each poem is utterly engaging, as hard to abandon as a chapter in a taut thriller." --Booklist
Celebrates ideas and topics that aren't often the subect of bards and poets. Her playful, inventive way of string together ideas is evident. . . . Despite the frolicsome nature of much of her work, Duhamel writes incisively about serious themes and issues. The clash between high and low art never seems abraisive in Duhamel's work." --Pittsburgh Tribune- Review
"Duhamel writes about Garcia-Lorca's Deli, Georgia O'Keefe's pelvis, a Barbie Doll in a Twelve-Step Program, Barbie as a Bisexual, Barbie's GYN appointment, and the difference between Pepsi and the Pope. . . . If you like knee-slapping, quasi-existential poetry, go out and pick up a Queen for a Day." --RALPH: The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy, and the Humanities
"Engagingly charts her evolution as a fictionist-from ribald, bemused poems about body parts and coming of age dramas to increasingly sophisticated mock-narratives. Her work is tremendous fun, but often there's an underpinning of sadness in it as well, which keeps the poems from being mere play. You'll want to read parts of this book aloud to your smart friends. Or to give it as a gift." --Stephen Dunn
"Denise Duhamel is a red-headed, red-lipped wild woman, a human and humane poet who isn't afraid to tackle any subject: violence, racism, A.I.D.S., bulimia, childishness, the myth of Bluebeard, the phenomenon of Barbie. It's been a singular joy to read this "selected" and see Duhamel's work grow and develop over the years. Queen for a Day is exuberant, brazen, bold, honest as hell, audaciously unpretentious and outrageously self-referential, a Frank O'Hara meets Lucille Ball meets Sandra Bernhard of a book: sin verguenza!" --Dorianne Laux
Denise Duhamel's Queen for a Day includes poems from her five previous full-length books (The Star-Spangled Banner, Kinky, Girl Soldier, The Woman with Two Vaginas, and Smile!) as well as her chapbook, How the Sky Fell. Her poems have been anthologized widely, including four editions of The Best American Poetry. Her work has been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," MPR's "The Writers' Almanac," and PBS's "Fooling with Words." She has collaborated with the poet Maureen Seaton in two volumes: Oyl and Exquisite Politics. Duhamel is assistant professor at Florida International University in Miami.
Denise Duhamel University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017
When her “smart” phone keeps asking her to autocorrect her name to Denise Richards, Denise Duhamel begins a journey that takes on celebrity, sex, reproduction, and religion with her characteristic wit and insight. The poems in Scald engage feminism in two ways—committing to and battling with—various principles and beliefs. Duhamel wrestles with foremothers and visionaries Shulamith Firestone, Andrea Dworkin, and Mary Daly as well as with pop culture figures such as Helen Reddy, Cyndi Lauper, and Bikini Kill. In dialogue with artists and writers such as Catherine Opie, Susan Faludi, and Eve Ensler, Duhamel tries to understand our cultural moment. While Duhamel’s Scald can burn, she has more importantly taken on the role of the ancient Scandinavian “Skald,” one who pays tribute to heroic deeds. In Duhamel’s case, her heroes are also heroines.
The Star-Spangled Banner
Denise Duhamel Southern Illinois University Press, 1999 Library of Congress PS3554.U3968S73 1999 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
The Star-Spangled Banner, Denise Duhamel's sixth book of poems, is about falling in love, American-style, with someone who is not American.
In the title poem, a small American girl mishears the first line of "The Star-Spangled Banner" as "José, can you see?", which leads her to imagine a foreign lover of an American woman dressed in a star-spangled gown. The misunderstandings caused by language recur throughout the book: contemplating what "yes" means in different cultures; watching Nickelodeon's "Nick at Nite" with a husband who grew up in the Philippines and never saw The Patty Duke Show; misreading another poet's title "The Difference Between Pepsi and Coke" as "The Difference Between Pepsi and Pope" and concluding that "Pepsi is all for premarital sex. / The Pope won't stain your teeth." Misunderstandings also abound as characters mingle with others from different classes. In "Cockroaches," a father-in-law refers to budget-minded American college students backpacking in Europe as cockroaches, not realizing his daughter-in-law was once, not so long ago, such a student/roach herself.
With welcome levity and refreshing irreverence, The Star-Spangled Banner addresses issues of ethnicity, class, and gender in America.
Two And Two
Denise Duhamel University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS3554.U3968T88 2005 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Denise Duhamel's much anticipated new collection begins with a revisionist tale--Noah is married to Joan of Arc--in a poem about America's often flawed sense of history. Throughout Two and Two, doubles abound: Noah's animals; Duhamel's parents as Jack and Jill in a near-fatal accident; an incestuous double sestina; a male/female pantoum; a dream and its interpretation; and translations of advertisements from English to Spanish. In two Möbius strip poems (shaped like the Twin Towers), Duhamel invites her readers to get out their scissors and tape and transform her poems into 3-D objects.
At the book's center is "Love Which Took Its Symmetry for Granted," a gathering of journal entries, personal e-mails, and news reports into a collage of witness about September 11. A section of "Mille et un sentiments," modeled on the lists of Hervé Le Tellier, Georges Perec, and George Brainard, breaks down emotions to their most basic levels, their 1,001 tiny recognitions. The book ends with "Carbó Frescos," written in the form of an art guidebook from the 24th century.
Innovative and unpretentious, Duhamel uses twice the language usually available for poetry. She culls from the literary and nonliterary, from the Bible and product warning labels, from Woody Allen films and Hong Kong action movies--to say difficult things with astonishing accuracy. Two and Two is second to none.