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4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  95 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
In Blowout, Denise Duhamel asks the same question that Frankie Lyman & the Teenagers asked back in 1954—"Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" Duhamel's poems readily admit that she is a love-struck fool, but also embrace the "crazy wisdom" of the Fool of the Tarot deck and the fool as entertainer or jester. From a kindergarten crush to a failed marriage and beyond, Duhamel expl ...more
Paperback, 104 pages
Published February 17th 2013 by University of Pittsburgh Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Jun 28, 2013 Nina rated it really liked it
Wow. My head is spinning after reading Duhamel’s latest collection. I can only imagine this is how she must have felt as she lived the detailed experiences. The poems in “Blowout” contain a strong narrative arc; they document her marriage, its unraveling, the divorce and its nasty aftermath, and the beginning of a new relationship. Her renowned humor is evident throughout, which elevates this collection from merely being a rant against an ex. She is able to poke fun at herself as well as others, ...more
Shawnte Orion
Jun 30, 2015 Shawnte Orion rated it it was amazing
Denise Duhamel's Blowout opens with her poem "How It Will End" where a husband and wife witness another couple's fight ("We can't hear what they're saying, / but it is as good as a movie") and begin projecting their own issues and grievances in a brilliant mixture of craft and confession. Her conversational style is the deceptive kind that requires much work and skill to end up sounding so casual (" `She has to just get it out of her system,' / my husband laughs, but I'm not laughing."). This ...more
Aug 14, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Um, wow. This is a deceptively complex collection of poetry by one of my favorite poets. On the surface, it seems like simply a gossipy tell-all of a failed marriage, a collection in which Duhamel brings her ex's shortcomings to center stage for all to see. While it is all of those things (and, one must assume, a delightfully cathartic modicum of healing for the author), it is also a brutally honest look at relationships, hopes, and dark dark places. Somehow, Duhamel manages to incorporate her ...more
David Gonzalez
Jul 17, 2013 David Gonzalez rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
Denise Duhamel has written too many books of poetry to mention, but it’s her latest collection, Blowout, that sees her accrued talents tackle what feels like a novel in poems. What begins with the prediction that love will not end well for the unnamed narrator sees us following her through the inevitable divorce, through a middle section that serves as a coming to terms, of stepping back through past lovers and the lessons learned to find acceptance, while the third and final section of the book ...more
Aug 14, 2014 Danielle rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
Most of the poems in this book don't live up to what I expect from Duhamel--the funky, cheeky, playful verse I've come to appreciate. I couldn't help but wonder if she was writing about the poet Nick Carbo, her ex-husband. I kept envisioning these poems were about him, which made it seem like I was a little too close to the subject matter. It felt like voyeurism. They felt a bit vengeful, like the poems had axes to grind.
Aug 01, 2015 Jen rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I got this book after reading Nina's excellent review of it here:

I am largely in agreement with her assessment of it. There is something wry about Duhamel's approach even when she is revealing painful details of her life. She not only pulls no punches with her ex but points the finger back at herself. We feel, as she deals with the unraveling of her marriage, that she is trying to figure out what happened. Because of that, and her documented efforts to ma
Sep 21, 2016 Shannon rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, he-be-leaving
Addictive read!

Some of the narrative poems felt a bit prosy, as if removing the enjambments would turn the poem into a piece of conversation.

Some of Duhamel's poems were absolutely brilliant, illuminating the arc of the tenderness of love and the reality of loneliness and suffering.
Sep 12, 2013 Frank rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I've never felt comfortable with poetry, or rather, confident enough to appreciate what or how I'm "supposed to". I know a lot of it comes down to how the subject was presented in school and the tired classics selected with no consideration for the audience. However, one of the benefits of getting older is learning to see past such artificial pretensions and accepting what it is you do like about a particular artform. For example, I've never connected with vague, abstract lyrics, preferring ...more
Aseem Kaul
Jun 12, 2013 Aseem Kaul rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-new
I'm not, in general, a big fan of confessional poetry about failed marriages (which seems to be the flavor of the month - see Sharon Olds' Stag's Leap), but Duhamel's witty, conversational poems have a charm all their own, and she is sufficiently self-aware (and self-amused) a raconteur to make this an enjoyable read. Blowout is by no means the most stirring or profound collection of poetry to come out this year - indeed, it reads more like a cross between a collection of micro-fiction and a h ...more
Patricia Murphy
Aug 06, 2016 Patricia Murphy rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I was so pleased to feature poems by Denise Duhamel in

Issue 1 of SR

And I have to say I’m glad the person I was meeting for lunch showed up about 45 minutes late since it gave me more time to savor these poems. The work in this collection is hugely angry, raw, honest. I wonder if this collection would have ever been published by an emerging poet--I feel like an editor might not have taken a chance on it without the history of the oeuvre behind it.
Mar 09, 2014 Andrea rated it liked it
I didn't love this as much as some of my friends, who have excellent taste in poetry, so that this is three stars rather than four is more a question of taste and that I'm rating this for myself and not a book review. It earns three stars, and my enjoyment and attention all through reading it because of the beauty of the craftsmanship, and my awe that she can write in such and exposed and exposing way. That confessional nature is mostly why I don't love this book, but I absolutely respect the ...more
Annette Boehm
Apr 29, 2014 Annette Boehm rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
In Blowout, Denise Duhamel talks about love and betrayal, about coming to terms with being cheated on. She also talks about how Madonna's divorce helped her through hers, and fantasizes about a strip club where women keep adding layers and layers of clothing. This is a quirky collection. It feels very personal, like a set of conversations with a girlfriend, maybe over a glass of wine or flavored vodka. To read more about the book, check out my blog post.
Sep 30, 2015 Christine rated it liked it
I understand this author has several other books of poetry, so i will give one of her earlier books a try. I understand she has some die-hard fans.

This book read a bit more like narrative memoir, less like poetry.

I did like some of the poems that were not about divorce, and when she explored bigger issues.
Erica Wright
Jul 30, 2013 Erica Wright rated it really liked it
The narrative arc of this collection made me read faster than usual, flipping eagerly from poem to poem. I rooted for the speaker, swooning as she emerged from her nasty divorce to find romance again. "Sleep Seeds" is one of the most original love poems I've read in years. But even in the bleakest parts of this collection, there's wit and charm.
Emily Rems
May 12, 2016 Emily Rems rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan of Denise Duhamel's work for 20 years and her writing still startles and amazes me. If you've ever had a broken heart, these poems will ring deeply, uncomfortably true. And if you haven't, keep this title in mind in case you ever do.
Dec 01, 2013 Victoria rated it it was amazing
My kindergarten boyfriend bought me this book. It's an open wound of a failed marriage. It's a meditation on what it is to be loved and then not loved. It's a book of confessional poetry that will make you three parts sad, two parts delirious, and one part soda water.
Mark Dzula
Jan 13, 2016 Mark Dzula rated it really liked it
These were largely poems centered on an ugly divorce. The poems weave a dense and troubling narrative, but Duhamel adds a few outliers in there that are like little fireworks. She ends on a hopeful note and returns to love. I appreciated her meta-awareness and savvy.
Kara Klotz
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Apr 06, 2016
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Poetry Readers Ch...: Blowout by Denise Duhamel 7 14 Aug 27, 2015 04:04AM  
Denise Duhamel's most recent books are Ka-Ching! (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009), Two and Two (Pittsburgh, 2005), Mille et un Sentiments (Firewheel, 2005); Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh, 2001); The Star-Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999); and Kinky (Orchises Press, 1997). A bilingual edition of her poems, Afortunada de mí (Lucky Me), translated ...more
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