Saints of Hysteria: A Half-century of Collaborative American Poetry

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Denise Duhamel, Maureen Seaton, David Trinidad
Soft Skull, 2007 - Poetry - 397 pages
Collaborative poetry — poems written by one or more people — grew out of word games played by French surrealists in the 1920s. It was taken up a decade later by Japan’s Vou Club and then by Charles Henri Ford, who created the chainpoem, composed by poets who mailed their lines all over the world. After WW II, the Beat writers’ collaborative experiments resulted in the famous Pull My Daisy. The concept was embraced in the 1970s by feminist poets as a way to find a collective female voice. Yet, for all its rich history, virtually no collections of collaborative poetry exist. This exhilarating anthology remedies the omission. Featured are poems by two, four, even as many as 18 people in a dizzying array of forms: villanelles to ghazals, sonnets to somonkas, pantoums to haiku, even quizzes, questionnaires, and other nonliterary forms. Collaborators’ notes accompany many of the poems, giving a fascinating glimpse into the creative process.

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About the author (2007)

Denise Duhamel's most recent books are “Two and Two” (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005) and “Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems” (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001). Her work has been anthologized in more than 50 volumes, including four editions of “The Best American Poetry”. Denise has read her work on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and Bill Moyer’s PBS television special “Fooling with Words”. She co-edited, with Nick Carbo, “Sweet Jesus: Poems about the Ultimate Icon” (The Anthology Press, 2002).

Maureen Seaton's (Chicago, IL) books of poetry include Furious Cooking (University of Iowa, 1996), winner of the Iowa Prize for poetry and the Lambda Book Award; The Sea among the Cupboards (New Rivers Press, 1992), winner of the Capricorn Award and The Society of Midland Authors Award; and Fear of Subways (Eighth Mountain, 1991), winner of the Eighth Mountain Prize. She has also collaborated with poet Denise Duhamel on the collection Exquisite Politics (Tia Chucha Press, 1997). Her work has appeared in the anthology The Best American Poetry 1997 and in such magazines as The Atlantic, The Boston Review, New American Writing, Paris Review, and The New Republic. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, an Illinois Arts Council (IAC) grant, three IAC Literary Awards, two Pushcart Prizes, and the McAfee Discovery Award from Missouri Review.

David Trinidad (Chicago, IL) is a member of the Core Poetry Faculty and Director of the Graduate Poetry Program. He was a member of the Core Faculty of the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at The New School prior to coming to Columbia in 2002. He has also taught at Rutgers, Princeton, and Antioch (Los Angeles). His most recent book, Phoebe 2002: An Essay in Verse, written in collaboration with Jeffery Conway and Lynn Crosbie and based on the film All About Eve, was published by Turtle Point Press in 2003. His previous book, Plasticville (Turtle Point, 2000), was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize of the Academy of American Poets. He is the author of ten other books of poetry, among them Answer Song (High Risk Books), Hand Over Heart: Poems 1981-1988 (Amethyst Press), and Pavane (Sherwood Press).
In addition to his own books of poetry, he has edited Powerless, the selected poems of Tim Dlugos, and Hello Joe: A Tribute to Joe Brainard (with Elaine Equi and William Corbett). He co-edited (with Maxine Scates) Holding Our Own: The Selected Poems of Ann Stanford. His poems have appeared in such periodicals as The American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Harper's and The Paris Review, and have been included in numerous anthologies, including Up Late: American Poetry Since 1970, High Risk: An Anthology of Forbidden Writings, The Best American Poetry 1991, Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology, and The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry.

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