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Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  503 ratings  ·  37 reviews
During the early years of her career, while struggling to "keep body and soul apart" (as she ruefully put it later), Dorothy Parker wrote more than three hundred poems and verses for a variety of popular magazines and newspapers. Between 1926 and 1933 she collected most of these pieces in three volumes of poetry: Enough Rope, Sunset Gun, and Death and Taxes. The remaining ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 10th 2001 by Scribner (first published August 2nd 1996)
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Steven Godin
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it

Love beyond my maddest dreaming
You have sworn you'll show to me;
You will guide me to the gleaming,
Reeling heights of ecstasy.
Dizzier joy than else could reach me,
Fiercer bliss and wilder thrill,
All of this some day you'll teach me,
Y-e-e-s you will!

— — —

We came face to face in the crowd;
Hemmed all about by pushing, straining figures,
Berserk with the thought of getting home for dinner.
Heavy about us rose the odor of crowded humanity,
Hot in our ears sounded their polyglot curses.
But the crowd was
Kathy Dawson
Mar 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of the jazz age, Algonquin Round Table fans, culture lovers
While the poetry in the book does not reach the height of excellence that her later, more "serious" work did, the true worth of this book is Silverstein's truly fantastic (if short) biography of Dorothy Parker, which contains a number of delightful anecdotes that I have been unable to find in other books. Buy it for the biography, and consider the amusing poetry as a bonus. :) ...more
Stefani Akins
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dorothy Parker's wit was as prickly as the end of her pencil, but when you read the lengthy and detailed introduction to this book (which accounts for roughly 1/3 of its content), you won't be surprised that she ended up a bitter, lonely alcoholic. Even if you're the smartest, most acerbic person in the room, there's no reason to show off continually and alienate every single person you meet. Oh well. That said, as much as I appreciate Dottie's gift for observation and language, I recently had t ...more
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker is my first experience with the 'verses' of Dorothy Parker. I readily admit that poetry is one of my least favorite genres; I just don't get it. I also readily admit that I have enjoyed some authors' poetry. Dorothy Parker's book was one such.

The book includes an excellent introduction about Parker's life. A fascinating, irascible, hard living, witty woman. She preferred to call her poems 'verses' as she had an inferiority complex when it came to he
Natalie (CuriousReader)
There's a lot to like in Parker's writing; her wit and Shirley Jackson-esque darkness in the turn of events especially so. Some of my favourites in this collection were "The gunman and the debutante" (no matter the editor's, Stuart Y Silverstein's, opinion of it), "Song of the open country", and possibly my absolute favourite was "Balto" which was one of the only poems that are truly and genuinely filled with love and affection.

Most of Parker's poetry is filled with wit, snark, parodies of othe
Oct 12, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nearly the first quarter of the book is an anecdote-heavy introduction to Parker's life and career. This part was good overall, but at times it went a little too heavily into "here's a funny thing she said, and here's another" for my taste. This was especially true in the footnotes, which also managed to throw me off by referring to her as "Dottie," as if the person writing them was a casual acquaintance writing about a friend rather than a biographer.

There are some bright spots in the poems, th
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: goodbye
I'm not sure how to gather my thoughts about this book.

It begins with a fifty-page introduction that's essentially a biography of Dorothy Parker. It's not very interesting. It basically names names of the people Dorothy associated with in New York (various magazines, literary clubs, theatres) and Los Angeles (film studios) and her many ex-husbands. It's heavily footnoted—at times with Dorothy's witty comments, at times with more information that I don't really care about. The basic idea of it is
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Parker herself would have wryly noted the appropriateness of the title -- this one is certainly only for the Parker completist (although I liked the "Hate poems" and am grateful for the coinage "homosectual"). I don't know who thought a writer with an already inverse biography to publication ratio needed a 50 page biographical introduction, but its judgy tone and the simpleminded conclusions it jumps to make it a thing truly worthy of hate. ...more
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really liked the comments the footnotes to the rather lengthy introduction. The introduction is really a short biography of Dorothy Parker and the footnotes contain anecdotes from her life. Her poems seem to have a curmudgeon's way of looking at society and life in general. The last section of the book is devoted to her "hate" series and probably put in writing what a lot of people thought (and many generations think) about certain stereotypical individuals. ...more
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
If I understand this correctly, these poems weren't lost they were just never included in any of the other collections, because Dorothy Parker didn't think they were good enough. I agree with her about some but and disagree about others. I think it's worth a read to decide for yourself. ...more
Ramona Walker
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
For many people Dorothy Parker is an acquired taste but I enjoy her poetry with its twisted endings. Her poetry is much like an O Henry story or one by Saki, with the last line giving a whole different meaning to everything you just read and I admire her ability to do so.

Her hate poem series is very good as she tells why she hates men, women, movies, parties and more. The biggest trouble readers of today have is relating to her because her writings are from so long ago that the topical reference
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, poetry
This was chock full of brilliant, biting, witty commentary. Parker does a phenomenal job poking fun at anything and everything she encounters, especially romantic relationships and our ideals of various "types"-- her "Hate Songs" are (although not as funny in general as the other poems) a perfect example of this sort of attitude. She is also a master of the "surprise ending", such as in numerous pieces where she seems to be asking for an idyllic, pastoral existence and rounds out the verse with ...more
Julie Leggett
One of my favorite poems from this book...

Why should we set these hearts of our above
The rest, and cramp them in possession's clutch?
Poor things, we gasp and strain to capture love,
And in our hands, it powders at our touch.
We turn the fragrant pages of the past,
Mournful with scent of passion's faded flow'rs,
On every one we read, "Love cannot last"---
So how could ours?

It is the quest that thrills, and not the gain,
The mad pursuit, and not the cornering:
Love caught is but a drop of A
May 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Though not her best works -- these are, for the most part, the poems she never put into collections herself -- Parker is always so bitterly entertaining. Good for when you're in a pissy mood. Strangely, it's plain from his introduction that the editor of this collection is not a Dorothy Parker fan, despite constant fawning references to "Dottie." While haphazard and maybe even overindulgent, the footnotes in the introduction are fun for their wealth of Parker one-offs at cocktail parties, at the ...more
David Ward
Sep 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, non-fiction
Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker by Stuart Y. Silverstein (Scribner 1996) (811) is collection of the lesser-known poems of the "Queen of Mean" of the 1930's and 1940's. These are "lesser-known" for good reason. Many are beyond vitriolic; they are simply hateful and nasty as though the author thought to ease her own pain by causing pain to her targets. If I ever desire another dose of Dorothy, I'll reread her best-known wordplay and leave this volume aside, for it provides just wha ...more
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I feel like everybody should read Dorothy Parker, and not just because I want people to laugh and not call the doctor whenever I quote her without explanation in casual conversation (really, isn't that what we all want in this life?). Her ~mainstream~ poems are a little more my speed - her 'lost poems' are a little more fluffy and less sassy, but worth the read. Full disclosure - read the bio by Stuart Silverstein that precedes the poetry, it's one of the better ones I've read. He doesn't cut he ...more
Oct 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Dorothy Parker fans
Shelves: poetry
Dorothy Parker will always get at least three stars from me, but this anthology, "Not Much Fun," includes some "lost poems" that are "not much good." I have a feeling that Ms. Parker would have preferred some of them remain "lost," but of course a few are jewels and the biographical pages are really worth reading. All in all, it's Dorothy Parker...nuff said! ...more
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This is a collection of poems by Parker that weren't printed in her previous collections. Although I enjoyed reading these poems, they're not among her best. But I have no problem recommending this one to other Parker lovers at all.

This edition also includes a good introduction to Parker's life and writing history, which is most definitely worth reading.
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, 2009-reads
Not Much Fun offers a sampling of the unknown Dorothy Parker, the bits she wisely culled from later collections for not being quite up to par. Gathered here, they offer only a dim reflection of her trademark shining wit, though the book itself is a worthwhile read just for the hilariously overfootnoted introduction and the Hate Songs section at the end. (I Hate Wives...Too Many People Have Them)
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I dated a man who fancied himself a poet once. We went to poetry slams. Consequently, I'm convinced 98.7% of all poetry is pure crap dressed up in fancy words. Dorothy Parker represents a large portion of the remaining 1.3%. ...more
Dec 26, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Dorothy Parker
This collection is not found in the other anthology I reviewed. It’s more of the same, but I don’t care for it quite as much. If you're a fan of Parker it's worth checking out- otherwise I suggest her portable reader. ...more
Mar 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: diehard Parker fans, jilted lovers
Recommended to Mike by: Joy Crabill
this book is just a joy for those die-hard Dorothy Parker fans. There are some real jewels of her wit and wisdom buried here; bits and pieces not found elsewhere. If Dottie trips your trigger, check this out!
Jan 08, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, poetry
First, no introduction should have so many footnotes. Second, Parker's work is, by and large, a showcase of wit and talent, but this collection doesn't do it justice. I'm still a fan, but not of this particular set. ...more
Aug 31, 2012 rated it liked it
she is an interesting person, very witty, mean at times, sometimes a strange bird, very much a person of her times, her poetry is very craftsman like with flashes of brilliance, I enjoyed reading about her, but not my favorite person
Jan 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I never loved her "Hate Verses," but the other poetry -- while not her best -- had some strong moments. Often paraprosdokian; usually funny; sometimes sentimental. The biography at the beginning was poorly written, which turned this into a slow read for me. ...more
Aug 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
Dorothy Parker is a genius.
Danelle Garrison
Dec 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
not her best work, but still very entertaining.
Apr 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I believe I enjoyed the introductory biography more than the poetry. Some of them were wonderful, but I can see why she didn't want them all to be published. ...more
Dec 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
Worth it for the biography alone.
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Nothing cheers me up more than the black humor of Dorothy Parker!
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Dorothy Parker was an American writer, poet and critic best known for her caustic wit, wisecracks, and sharp eye for 20th century urban foibles. From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in such venues as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin

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