Ka-Ching! is a book of poems that explores America’s obsession with money. It also includes a crown of sonnets about e-bay, sestinas on the subjects of Sean Penn and the main characters of fairytales, a pantoum that riffs on a childhood riddle, and a villanelle inspired by bathroom grafitti.
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Ka-Ching! is a book of poems that explores America’s obsession with money. It also includes a crown of sonnets about e-bay, sestinas on the subjects of Sean Penn and the main characters of fairytales, a pantoum that riffs on a childhood riddle, and a villanelle inspired by bathroom grafitti.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In the midst of financial crisis, Duhamel's 11th collection opens with prose poems printed on the back of pretend $100,000 bills, whose shape limits the length of the poems, suggesting the ways that money limits art and the world in which art is made. This power is most heartbreaking in the section "one-armed bandits," which tells of a freak escalator accident in Atlantic City that injured the poet's parents. With characteristic forthrightness, Duhamel (Two and Two) recollects "blood soaking the silver escalator steps, the casino carpet.// Up and down and round and round. All the bald lemons and cherries spinning." Duhamel's blunt, occasionally playful voice is versatile, treating subjects like war, gender, porn, language and also illness: "I sobered up and looked at my plate of pale scrambled eggs,/ what I imagined cancer looked like." Although long lines and expository prose blocks dominate this collection, the poet's lyricism emerges in moments when she employs traditional form in surprising ways, such as a sestina in which every line ends with a variant of Sean Penn's surname: "But honest, I come in peace, Sean Penn,/ writing on my plane ride home. I want no part of your penthouse/ on the snowy slopes of your Aspen." Duhamel doesn't break new aesthetic ground, but she has written some of the first poetry to deeply register the current economic crisis. (Feb.)

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Library Journal

If you like wordplay, Duhamel's new book of poetry (after Kinky) will give you a run for your money, for money-how we earn it, how we lose it, and how we have built our self-image as a nation upon it-is at the heart of these poems. In this time of bailouts and stimulus packages, Duhamel explores how the dollar is the one-armed bandit at the center of American life. This is a serious and even gripping book, but the poems are dealt out to us in inventive ways: prose poems written to fit play money $100,000 bills, a sestina that pokes fun at the limits of form and language, and an "Anagram America" poem that is a tour de force. The poems also explore chance and the chances we take. The most potent section is the compelling story of an escalator accident in an Atlantic City casino that plunges the author's parents and family into an underworld of hospitals and morphine drips, lawyers and depositions. At a time when medical expenses are a leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States, Duhamel takes an up-close and personal look at the system. Recommended for both public and academic libraries.
—Susan Kelly-DeWitt

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822990680
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publication date: 2/15/2009
  • Series: Pitt Poetry Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 96
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Denise Duhamel is associate professor of English at Florida International University.  She is the author of ten poetry collections, including Two and Two and Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems. Duhamel has also written five chapbooks of poetry and coedited, with Maureen Seaton and David Trinidad, Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry. The recipient of numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, she has been anthologized widely, appearing in six volumes of The Best American Poetry.

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