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Friday, January 14, 2011

Poetry Friday--Seriously Funny

Seriously Funny, an anthology edited by Barbara Hambly and David Kirby, is subtitled: Poems about Love, Death, Religion, Art, Politics, Sex, and Everything Else [811.6 SER]. Overall, it's not pee-in-your pants, but humor is a very personal thing, and the editors were not looking for pee-in-your pants humor. The editors told of their selection strategy in the "Introduction,"
We're not looking for funny poems; we're looking for seriously funny poems, ones that evoke poetry's timeless concerns but include a comic element as well. We have nothing against Dorothy Parker and Ogden Nash, but our interest lies only in poems of literary merit that also bring at least a smile and sometimes a belly laugh.
Hambly and Kirby edited the book with quite a bit of humor as is evidenced in the chapter titles such as "Let Us Be Friends a While and Understand Our Differences: Fiends and Neighbors," or "From My Bowels to Your Inbox: Poetry Goes to Work."

Here's a poem by Stephen Dobyns called "Spiritual Chickens":
A man eats a chicken every day for lunch,
and each day the ghost of another chicken
joins the crowd in the dining room. If he could
only see them! Hundreds and hundreds of spiritual
chickens, sitting on chairs, table, covering
the floor, jammed shoulder to shoulder. At last
there is no more space and one of the chickens
is popped back across the spiritual plain to the earthly.

Read the rest at The Times Online and you'll also find a rather unnecessary commentary accompanying the poem!
I'm certain there's something for everyone in Seriously Funny, except for, perhaps, the completely humorless individual. (And don't we all know at least one of those?)

Now to relieve you of those visions of ghostly chickens in your head, why don't you head over to the Poetry Friday Round-Up being hosted by Laura Salas.


  1. I'm putting this on reserve right now. I don't like silly poems, but I love funny ones. Billy Collins' wry humor gets me every time--can't wait to explore these...

  2. The commentary does go on, but I like that bit about the autistic kid at the end...

  3. The kid does raise an interesting question--which world do we spend more time in?