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About this poet

In 1961, Denise Duhamel was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. She received a BFA degree from Emerson College and a MFA degree from Sarah Lawrence College.

She is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including: Blowout (University of Pittsburgh, 2013), Ka-Ching! (University of Pittsburgh, 2009), and Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (University of Pittsburgh, 2001).

Her other books currently in print are Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (University of Pittsburgh, 2001), The Star-Spangled Banner, winner of the Crab Orchard Poetry Prize (1999); Kinky (1997); Girl Soldier (1996); and How the Sky Fell (1996). Duhamel has also collaborated with the poet Maureen Seaton on several volumes, including Caprise: Collected, Uncollected, & New Collaborations (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015), Little Novels (Pearl Editions, 2002), and Exquisite Politics (Tia Chucha Press, 1997).

In response to Duhamel's collection Smile!Edward Field says, "More than any other poet I know, Denise Duhamel, for all the witty, polished surface of her poems, communicates the ache of human existence."

Duhamel has received grants and awards from numerous organizations, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and she served as the guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2013. She teaches creative writing and literature at Florida International University and lives in Hollywood, Florida.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry
Blowout (University of Pittsburgh, 2013)
Ka-Ching! (University of Pittsburgh, 2009)
Two and Two (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005)
Mille et un sentiments (Firewheel Editions, 2005)
Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (University of Pittsburgh, 2001)
The Star-Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999)
Kinky (Orchises Press, 1997)
The Woman With Two Vaginas (Salmon Run Press, 1994)
Smile! (Warm Spring Press, 1993)

The Bottom

I stopped drinking on my way down the hill
to the liquor store when two guys pulled up
and tried to drag me into their pickup. I crossed the street
then ran in the opposite direction, puffing
against the incline. The stranger thrust into reverse 
and, when I wouldn't talk to him,
threw a bag of McDonald’s trash at me,
Stuck up bitch. I stopped drinking
when I realized I was fighting 
for the vodka at the bottom of the hill
more than I was fighting against the terrible
things that could have happened to me
inside the cab of that rusty Chevy. I stopped drinking
before cell phones. I stopped drinking
after Days of Wine and Roses. I stopped drinking
even as I kept walking to El Prado Spirits
and the guy behind the counter who recognized me
asked if I was alright. I didn't tell him
what had happened because he might have called
the police and then I would have had to wait
for them to arrive to fill out a report, delaying my Smirnoff.  
I stopped drinking even before I had that last sip,
as I ran back up the hill squeezing a bottle by its neck.

Copyright © 2011 by Denise Duhamel. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2011 by Denise Duhamel. Used with permission of the author.

Denise Duhamel

Denise Duhamel

Born in 1961, Denise Duhamel is the author of numerous books and chapbooks of poetry, including Blowout (University of Pittsburgh, 2013).

by this poet

poem

"...The use of condoms offers substantial protection, but does not guarantee total protection and that while there is no evidence that deep kissing has resulted in transfer of the virus, no one can say that such transmission would be absolutely impossible." --The Surgeon General, 1987

poem

I love Fresh Market but always feel underdressed
squeezing overpriced limes. Louis Vuitton,
Gucci, Fiorucci, and all the ancient East Coast girls
with their scarecrow limbs and Joker grins.
Their silver fox husbands, rosy from tanning beds,
steady their ladies who shuffle along in Miu Miu’s

poem
—to Sean Penn

I'm writing this on a plane, Sean Penn,
with my black Pilot Razor ballpoint pen.
Ever since 9/11, I'm a nervous flyer. I leave my Pentium
Processor in Florida so TSA can't x-ray my stanzas, penetrate
my persona. Maybe this should be in iambic pentameter,
rather than this mock sestina, each