Second Story: Poems

Univ. of Pittsburgh. Mar. 2021. 110p. ISBN 9780822966531. pap. $17. POETRY
In these poems, Duhamel (Kinky) looks back at her life and its pivotal moments with aplomb and humor. These are busy, mostly free-verse poems, with a few formal ones as terza rima, pantoum, or sonnet variation. They reflect on everything from the political and social issues of the day, including the pandemic; to the possibility of an afterlife (comparing it to pushing a squeaky cart in a trip to Walmart); to Duhamel’s deceased father (calling him a man of rosaries and “Benny Hill”); to her own aging (“I’ve never hated poetry / when I was young or now that I’m old”); to Hurricane Irma, in this reviewer’s favorite poem, “Terza Irma.” The latter is a 31-page poem written as a terza rima that remembers Duhamel’s experience during Hurricane Irma in 2017. It’s filled with details like watching the news; leaving her home and staying away for several days; returning to a mess of waterlogged ceilings, furniture, and carpets; and going back to school and grading papers while worrying about a new storm.
VERDICT This book is not exactly a swan song, but in many places it feels that way. What keeps it from being heavy are Duhamel’s word play, breezy free association, and chatty poetic style. For all libraries.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing