Sex and the City, Sharon Olds and Spalding Gray lies the poetry of Denise Duhamel, who in six volumes during the 1990s (all from small independe"/>

QUEEN FOR A DAY

Denise Duhamel, Author QUEEN FOR A DAYDenise Duhamel $12.95 (120p) ISBN 978-0-8229-5762-1

Somewhere between Sex and the City, Sharon Olds and Spalding Gray 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. The weakest poems come first. "Sometimes the First Boys Don't Count" could be Olds exactly ("I swallowed like a brave girl taking her medicine"); "Bulimia" predictably evokes "the palate—hidden and secret as a clitoris." Later Duhamel found ways to write about sex and sexual politics without being bound to confessional realism. The Woman with Two Vaginas from 1995 claimed to translate Inuit tales: "He-Whose-Penis-Never-Slept," the title poem, and others found mythological parallels for dilemmas women still face. Kinky (1997), a series of poems about Barbie, played on the doll's status as ironic ideal: when "Barbie Joins a Twelve Step Program," having "been kidnapped by boys/ and tortured with pins," she realizes her "God must be Mattel." Duhamel's most recent work finds two new subjects: her husband's Filipino culture and language, and her position in the poetry world: "I was suddenly angry at my dad for not being Ashbery." (Apr.)

Forecast: With its self-conscious ease, its nervous in-jokes and its general lack of formal interest, Duhamel's work will be held up as a model by few highbrow critics. On the other hand, its humor, anger and forceful personality could make the book a genuine popular hit.

Reviewed on: 03/26/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.