Seriously Funny

Poems about Love, Death, Religion, Art, Politics, Sex, and Everything Else

Edited by Barbara Hamby and David Kirby

Title Details

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 04/15/2010

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3569-8

List Price: $26.95


Pub Date: 04/15/2010

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3087-7

List Price: $74.95

Seriously Funny

Poems about Love, Death, Religion, Art, Politics, Sex, and Everything Else

Edited by Barbara Hamby and David Kirby

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  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Contributors

Can serious poetry be funny? Chaucer and Shakespeare would say yes, and so do the authors of these 187 poems that address timeless concerns but that also include comic elements.

Beginning with the Beats and the New York School and continuing with both marquee-name poets and newcomers, Seriously Funny ranges from poems that are capsized by their own tomfoolery to those that glow with quiet wit to ones in which a laugh erupts in the midst of terrible darkness.

Most of the selections were made in the editors' battered compact car, otherwise known as the Seriously Funny Mobile Unit. During the two years in which Barbara Hamby and David Kirby made their choices, they'd set out with a couple of boxes of books in the back seat, and whoever wasn't driving read to the other. When they found that a poem made both of them think but laugh as well, they earmarked it.

Readers will find a true generosity in these poems, an eagerness to share ideas and emotions and also to entertain. The singer Ali Farka Touré said that honey is never good when it's only in one mouth, and the editors of Seriously Funny hope its readers find much to share with others.

From Frank O'Hara's 'Poem (Lana Turner Has Collapsed!)' and John Ashbery's 'Daffy Duck in Hollywood' to a host of younger poets now writing 'seriously funny' poems, this anthology argues eloquently that poetry is not just the equivalent of somber personal reflection, that indeed from Chaucer to the present, humor, irony, satire, and play are as integral to poetry as they are to narrative prose. Turning the pages of this generous anthology, you will smile and chuckle-and also weep!

—Marjorie Perloff, author of Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media

I loved this book. From its mouth-watering table of contents to its last eccentric, splendid poem, Kirby and Hamby have put paid to the notion that serious poetry can't have a sense of humor. When people ask me to recommend something good to read that's both thought provoking and irresistibly entertaining, poetry anthologies don't generally come to mind. This one will.

—Nancy Pearl, author of Book Lust

During a time when so many of our poets seem afflicted by mere self-importance and an almost-Pavlovian tic of irony, this book celebrates the other kind of funny-the sort that is mordant, absurdist, and keen to both laud and critique the madness and fascinating lunacy of our culture. Hamby and Kirby have assembled a bracing set of poems which remind us anew how closely heartbreak, humor and wisdom literature are aligned. These poems spring from necessity, not from the desire for punch lines.

—David Wojahn, author of Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982–2004

David Bottoms

Lucille Clifton

Wanda Coleman

Michael Collier

Carl Dennis

Stephen Dobyns

Stephen Dunn

B. Fairchild

Beth Fennelly

Allen Ginsberg

Louise Gluck

Albert Goldbarth

Robert Hass

Terrance Hayes

Tony Hoagland

Andrew Hudgins

T. R. Hummer

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Caroline Knox

Yusef Komunyakaa

David Lehman

Thomas Lux

William Matthews

Kevin McFadden

Campbell McGrath

Heather McHugh

Peter Meinke

Phyllis Moore

Harryette Mullen

Lucia Perillo

Michael Ryan

Tim Seibles

Alan Shapiro

Charles Simic

Maura Stanton

James Tate

Robert Wrigley

Dean Young

Kevin Young

Kim Addonizio

Ginger Andrews

Nin Andrews

John Ashbery

Dorothy Barresi

Erin Belieu

Josh Bell

Charles Bernstein

John Berryman

George Bilgere

Richard Blanco

Adrian Blevins

Daniel Borzutsky

Catherine Bowman

Jason Bredle

Geoffrey Brock

Christopher Bursk

Richard Cecil

Maxine Chernoff

Marilyn Chin

David Clewell

Judith Ortiz Cofer

Billy Collins

Gregory Corso

Justin Courter

Jim Daniels

Gregory Djanikian

Denise Duhamel

Martín Espada

Steve Fellner

Richard García

David Graham

Paul Guest

R. S. Gwynn

James Allen Hall

Mark Halliday

Jeffrey Harrison

Bob Hicok

Richard Howard

David Huerta

Bruce A. Jacobs

Rodney Jones

James Kimbrell

Galway Kinnell

Jennifer L. Knox

Kenneth Koch

Ron Koertge

William Logan

Jynne Dilling Martin

Adrian Matejka

Lynne McMahon

Richard Newman

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Frank O'Hara

Sharon Olds

Lawrence Raab

Freeman Rogers

Aidan Rooney

J. Allyn Rosser

Steve Scafidi

Natalie Shapero

Julie Sheehan

Enid Shomer

Martha Silano

Gary Soto

Gerald Stern

Angelo Verga

Paul Violi

Charles Harper Webb

Susan Wood

Franz Wright

Lois-Ann Yamanaka

Ray A. Young Bear

Matthew Zapruder

Bill Zavatsky

About the Author/Editor

DAVID KIRBY is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University. He is the author of many books of poetry and criticism, including The Ha-Ha, My Twentieth Century, and What Is a Book? (Georgia). His poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Southern Review, Paris Review, and other publications.