Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Kinky” as Want to Read:
Kinky
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Kinky

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  408 ratings  ·  39 reviews
I'd buy this book just for the cover, but the poems are even twice as wonderful. Denise Duhamel has apparently obsessed for months about the Barbie doll phenomenon: all the poems have to do with the "what if " of Barbie attempting to fit into the real world. For example, what if Barbie were codependent? What if Barbie were in therapy? What if she were a religious fanatic? ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published March 1st 1997 by Orchises Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Kinky, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Kinky

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  408 ratings  ·  39 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Kinky
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
This was such a fantastic book of poetry - by intersecting Barbie into the life of diffrent women one can see the image the toy has cast over generations of girls - unique and haunting.
C. Varn
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Duhamel's use of the conceits around Barbie fascinate even if some of the concerns are phrased in a way particular to the late 1990s. Hinting at Barbie's origins as a fetish doll and building on her particular focus as a fetishization of gender and sexuality in US, Duhamel creates an engaging conceit to overlay social satire and commentary upon, on ethnic erasure, body imagery, etc. Yet Duhamel's humor reigns it all in an accessible and yet brave package.
Kate
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: former-favorite
Totally awesome. I'm a sucker for an extended literary conceit, particularly ones that revolve around childhood icons. Duhamel does a good job capturing the ambivalence many adult women feel toward Barbie, i.e. I think I'm supposed to hate all she represents, but I can't stop myself from feeling nostalgic. And, of course, poetry that makes me laugh out loud gets some serious bonus points. Particular favorites of mine are "Barbie in Therapy" Bisexual Barbie" and "Differently Abled Barbies"
Matthew Hittinger
Jul 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I love using this book with intro poetry students in a creative writing class. It helps defeat their preconceived notions of what poetry is or what it should be about.
Rachel
May 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Rachel by: Lisa
Hands down, Denise Duhamel is one of my new favorite poets! This collection of poems about Barbie is simply fabulous. Her social critique of our society through the small, plastic world of Barbie is scathing and biting. Yet, as anyone who has a love/hate relationship with the infamous fashion doll, she also manifests in these poems a great deal of empathy with Barbie. Witnessing Barbie's attempts to find her tinny voice throughout this collection are almost as heartwrenching as the unattainable ...more
Jeannine
Jun 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Poetry fans, pop culture junkies, feminists
This collection takes a satirical look at Barbie and Ken, from sad transgender experiments when they trade heads to Barbie's feelings of loss when she visits a gynecologist. Duhamel makes you laugh and makes you think. Some of her best work.
Faith-Anne
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favorites, poetry
I have always found a loathing in my heart for Barbie & all she stands for. Maybe that's why this book is so dear to my heart. The poetry is wonderful & so perversely funny!
Raven
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Ok, I had to read some poems from this book for a Women in Literature course and I loved it. Funny and Insightful. You never look at Barbie the same again.

Here's the Title poem-

They decide to exchange heads.
Barbie squeezes the small opening under her chin
over Ken’s bulging neck socket. His wide jaw line jostles
atop his girlfriend’s body, loosely,
like one of those novelty dogs
destined to gaze from the back windows of cars.
The two dolls
...more
Sean Patrick Brennan
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book at Manhattan College as part of a poetry class taught by poet Nick Carbo in 1997. We were all so wet behind the ears back then, and I was living as a monk in a religious order. Talk about culture shock as I read this fabulous book!

One of the poems is called Sister Barbie, and it imagines Barbie as if she were a nun. Well, I loaned the book to a classmate who was reading this poem out on the Quad, when a bird flew over and crapped right on the page! "It's a sign from
...more
Danielle
Jul 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, fiction
Reread. Love this book. Duhamel's poetry reflects upon feminism, racism, sexism, sexuality, gender, etc. all using America's beloved Barbie doll as the main character. Barbie's body is created to represent beauty, an object of desire for children (and adults), so I love how Duhamel voices Barbie's inner self as "Yes, I can be a flight attendant-school teacher-supermodel...yet my body is stiff and plastic and unyielding to my desires."

My favorite poem is definitely "Kinky": Ken wants
...more
Helen
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love Denise Duhamel. There's not a poem she's written that I don't think is awesome. And a whole book of poems about Barbie? Seriously?

Let me give you a great example. A poem entitled Native American Barbie.

Native American Barbie

There's only one of her left.



Humorous, political, relevant though the book was published in 1997. Good stuff, everyone should read it, as well as Duhamel's other books. My favorite American poet, after myself.
Carrie
Jan 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Kinky is not about the kind of kinky you're thinking about right now. Nope. Get your mind outta there...right now! It's about the kind of Barbie Doll kinky that makes it hard to talk, keep your head on...because sometimes Ken steals it. My faves: "Astrology Barbie," "Codependent Barbie," "Marriage," and, of course, "Barbie and Carrie." Most memorable line in the book, "I dream of dexterity and crying." Don't we all? Well, I know I do.
Sara Bauer
Jun 09, 2014 rated it liked it
A whole book of poems dedicated to Barbie? Yep. Duhamel gets pretty political/ religious / racy/ scandalous / etc etc. I mean, she owns the world of Barbie in this collection. A social commentary but also very entertaining.
Real Supergirl
Aug 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is brilliant. She uses Barbie as a metaphor throughout the entire collection, and addresses many aspects of American culture and misogyny in general, while making Barbie a first person character and giving her a voice.
Renee
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A masterful tongue-in-cheek collection of poetry that rejects double standards and oppression as it pertains to women in a quirky original style using the iconographic Barbie doll. One of my favorite books!
Mark
Jul 24, 2011 added it
Shelves: 2-poetry
Brilliant. The hopes and terrors and alienation of our consumer society, as seen through the painted eyes of an 11.5" tall, plastic doll. I laughed out load, I winced, I sighed. Don't read it on a plane unless you want to annoy your neighbors.
Kristina
Aug 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a great collection of poems that throws Barbie into an unexpected light. Duhamel imagines the doll as a religious zealot, a beatnik, a therapy-obsessed trainwreck, and in dozens of other scenarios that are equally illuminating and provocative.
David
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the exploration of Barbie from different social lenses, but the poetry itself was less than lyric.
Susan
Jul 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant and witty.
Jenni
Jul 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poets
Very original voice.
Jenny Justice
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Best. My favorite contemporary poet.
Bronwen
Oct 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Don't let the name scare you. These are fabulous poems all about Barbie in various hypothetical modern roles.
Caroline
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Fantastic: hilarious, quirky, amusing. Great poems.
Caroline
Sep 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Poor Barbie. Mattel's such a dick.
Tamara
Dec 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-school, poetry
Possibly one of my favorite collections of poetry to date.
Kary
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
An entire poetry collection about Barbie, what could be better!?
MaKayla
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
i read this for my english class. i don't usually read poetry (and i'm not quite sure how to read it critically) but i enjoyed this and i agreed with its points so! yeah
Stephanie Lenox
Jan 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stephanie by: Charles Jensen
This book is a sexy blend of hysteric and obsessive writing. Duhamel, while concentrating on a single theme (in this case Barbie), pulls almost everything into the poem—-literature, astrology, apocalypse, religion. The book’s organization is playful, with section titles such as “Lipstick,” “Power Blush,” “Mascara,” and “Eye Shadow.” I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the book as a whole, which has wide and wild appeal. My favorite individual poem is "Math Class is Tough."
Cheryl Valentine
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
First read in 1999.
Leanna
Mar 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
The premise for this is great--each poem is about a kind of Barbie doll. Most of these Barbies are imaginary ("Bisexual Barbie," "Barbie as Mafiosa", etc.) but a few are based on real Barbies ("Black Barbie History," "Hispanic Barbie.")

My problem with this book is that all the poems were too easy! The book feel very 1990s (it came out in 1997)and it has this dated sense of, oh, soccer mom feminism (that is probably a sexist statement. Oh well.) The poems never go very deep (perhaps fitting for
...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Blood Dazzler
  • Teahouse of the Almighty
  • What Belongs to You
  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide
  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
  • What Is Amazing
  • How to Be Black
  • Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah
  • Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric
  • The Good Son
  • Notes of a Native Son
  • How to Survive a Summer
  • Don't Call Us Dead
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
  • The Fire Next Time
  • We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
See similar books…
53 followers
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
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »