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Two and Two

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Description

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.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 18, 2005 – People who never buy books of poetry will find a compelling reason to buy this one: at its center is a long poem constructed out of the e-mail detritus of 9/11, when citizens and survivors from all over the world poured their grief onto global listservs, as well as of news sound bites, bits of trauma-related classroom exercises, profiles of bin Laden and others, as well as elegies for the victims. Along with Michael Gottlieb's "The Dust," the poem, titled "Love Which Took Its Symmetry for Granted" is one of the few versifications of the tragedy and its aftermath that is genuinely affecting, switching among its many voices and discourses cleanly (if not seamlessly), and giving a sense of the poet's own attempts to come to terms with what has happened. The rest of the book is perfectly good, moving among familiar modes of high-low juxtaposition, childhood remembrance, workday challenge and wry pop cultural exploration with ease. A funny, touching prose poem about Duhamel's relationship with the poet Nick Carb closes things out: "Duhamel has essentially erased all other women in Carb 's life but herself." A similar sense of depth dipped in whimsy pervades throughout; it's what saves Duhamel's elegiac bricolage from mawkishness.
Two and Two
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Poetry
  • Published: Mar 13, 2005
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Seller: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Print Length: 112 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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