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Holy Tango of Literature

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  55 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Holy Tango of Literature is a unique and captivating collection mimicking the great writers of literary history. This devilishly witty book has a twist: Each writer's name is rearranged as a title, creating the subject for a parody rendered in the author's style.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by Clerisy Press, Emmis Books
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Francis Heaney is a comic genius. This slim volume mainly contains poems written according to the conceit: "What if poets wrote poems whose names were anagrams of the poet's own name?". Accordingly it contains such gems as "Toilets", by T.S. Eliot, "Skinny Domicile" by Emily Dickinson, "Likable Wilma" by William Blake, and - my personal favorite - "Hen Gonads" by Ogden Nash.

If you don't want to buy the book, pretty much the entire content is also available online, e.g. at

For the record, I, a uselessly poor anagrammer, did know T.S. Eliot became Toilets.

It's clever. An amusing gift for an English major, I expect.
Absolutely awesome. Also can be found online for free. I read it online and then promptly purchased a hard copy as a gift. Should you read it, I dare guess you would be inspired to do the same.
James Swenson
What if one wrote a poem inspired by an anagram of a famous poet's name, in the style of that poet?

In most literary anthologies, the hardest decisions involve deciding who to leave out. In our case, it was easy. No decent anagrams? To hell with them.

This is another book I'm not allowed to read in bed: the uncontrollable laughter wakes up the other occupants. I can't decide which of the following I should quote:

i Will alarm islamiC oWls

William Carlos Williams

I will be alarming
the Islamic owls
This is pretty much the most fantastic thing I have ever read. I'm impressed at the author's ability to mimic so many authors' styles while keeping almost all of the works funny. I kind of wish he would do a second book of these, because my clearest thought by the end was that I just needed more.
Mary Beth
Very clever and very funny, with a superb ear for diction and tone, Holy Tango captures the voices of a wide variety of poets and playwrights to gloriously silly effect. The juxtapositions of style and subject matter are often amusing in and of themselves, but Heaney never rests on that alone, creating one witty verse after another, sometimes indulging in adolescent vulgarity but always with such sparklingly playful repartee as to elevate the bawdiest of rhymes to brilliance.
Love it!

He took The Great Authors(tm) and made anagrams of their names, which he then used as titles and inspiration for a silly piece written in the original author's style. Got that?

For example, my favorite of course was the Robert Frost parody poem "Brr, Footrest!" which was basically "Stopping by woods on a snowy evening," except about the opening credits of the Dick Van Dyke Show.
A collection of poetry and skits based on anagrams of various poets' and playwrights' names. Some more inspired than others, most of them completely on-the-mark in terms of getting the poet's or playwright's voice down. The best is "I will alarm Islamic owls," (William Carlos Williams) with "An E-Mail" (A A Milne) as a close second.
Very impressive to have mimicked the style & tone of so many different poets & playwrights in such a creative way. I found that I am not captivated by Dylan Thomas no matter who is writing it, and Woody Allen is melodramatic and bizarre no matter what. A brilliant idea to showcase one person's range in writing.
Jan Finkel
A collection of parodies of poems and plays (scenes)by authors whose names can be made into anagrams. Most are a real hoot. A few may not be suitable for prudes and children: the magic word is there. Heaney assumes that his readers actually know something.
Hysterical. Brilliant. I read it in one night in college 2 years ago. I looked at it again the other day and appreciated it so much more, having read more of the authors being parodied (or given homage). I highly recommend it.
A must-read for any lover of literature. Heaney tackles everything from T.S. Eliot to A.A. Milne with hilarious results. He stays true to each author's form while writing new laugh-out-loud creations.
Daniel Klawitter
Clever and delightfully amusing...Francis Heaney is smarter and funnier than most human beings you are likely to meet.
Kyle Pflug
Apr 23, 2007 Kyle Pflug rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: English majors
Shelves: humor, for-fun
Hilarious. Informed readers will appreciate his mockery-by-caricature of some of academia's favorite figures.
Funny to absolutely hilarious, on how much poetry/how many plays you had to read in high school.
Jul 15, 2008 Kristen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Jasper Fforde
Made for dramatic readings over drinks with a little dinner and friends. Really brilliant.
Candy for English nerds. Like, chocolate truffles with caramel centers or something.
Suzanne Costner
A slim, witty, erudite read, so good I wanted to date it.
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