Best Local Poet (2009)

Denise Duhamel

If you haven't heard of Denise Duhamel, a professor at Florida International University and author of eight poetry collections, it's probably because you think contemporary poetry sounds only like this: "Evening storm/Snow hammers the glass/Surface of the house where we fell/In and out of love, the bedroom/Like the knife that cleaved/Our hearts into separate hemispheres/Of loneliness" (editor's note: poem by our own dumb writer) and not like an open letter from a Mattel Barbie doll; and not like the liner notes to a Cyndi Lauper album; and not as a response to the warning the surgeon general puts on condoms; and not as a legal diatribe on sex with animals; and not as an explanation of a menu change in the White House; and not as a collaboration with another poet; and not as a visual object that asks to be considered as its own genre of art; and not as something that a modern American can actually relate to, forcing itself again and again past the defenses we've perfected in the face of so many false claims to our emotions; and not as something that is actually, truly contemporary; and not as something that is — gasp — actually worth reading.


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