West Texas A&M University welcomes award-winning poet Denise Duhamel
Speaking to Nancy Lewis in a Virginian Pilot interview, Duhamel recounted the delay in the printing process for one of her books: "The printer came up with one excuse after another for not starting the press run…. After dragging its corporate feet for months, the company finally refused to print the book. According to Duhamel, even people from her Rhode Island hometown treat her differently upon learning that she is the author of a banned book.
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Other critics have remarked favorably upon the accessibility of Duhamel's work. The volume is full of references easily understood by young people, from slang language to humorous garbled English taken from Hong Kong films, to the what-if scenario between Noah as in Noah's Ark and Joan of Arc.
Though some critics warn that her pop sensibility could verge into treacle, Duhamel is appreciated for her control over her subject matter. The poems in Two and Two convey a "sense of depth dipped in whimsy," wrote a reviewer for Publishers Weekly.
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Ray Olson, writing in Booklist, stated that these poems seem less personal than those in her previous collection, Queen for a Day , but provide new energy to confessional poetry in the form of "sass, deliberate absurdity, [and] overkill," and are presented in a variety of unconventional formats. In addition to publishing her own work, Duhamel has collaborated in editing several well-received anthologies, including Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry , which brings together work from many communities of poets, including the Beats, the Language poets, and the New York School poets.
All the poems were collaborative efforts between two or more poets—contradicting the idea of the solitary poet crafting a work of his or her singular vision—and were previously printed in small journals or chapbooks. Sweet Jesus: Poems about the Ultimate Icon is another anthology that Duhamel edited with her husband, the poet Nick Carbo, which includes religious-themed poems from sixty-three contemporary writers, including Sherman Alexie, Maxine Kumin, and Molly Peacock.
Interviews | Smartish Pace (a poetry review)
Duhamel once told CA: "When I was in high school, I believed that there were no living poets since the only poets I was exposed to in school were dead. It was not until I went to college that I was exposed to writers such as Kathleen Spivak, Bill Knott, and Sharon Olds—poets who really inspired me to try to be a poet myself. Publishers Weekly , March 26, , review of Queen for a Day , p. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.
Denise Duhamel Poems
The Star-Spangled Banner, Denise Duhamel's sixth book of poems, is about falling in love, American-style, with someone who is not American. 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.
With welcome levity and refreshing irreverence, The Star-Spangled Banner addresses issues of ethnicity, class, and gender in America.
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