Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Problem of Boredom in Paradise: Selected Poems by Paul Hannigan

A quick, self-congratulatory note: Don Share, editor of Poetry magazine, wrote a short, end-of-the-year best poetry list, and The Problem of Boredom in Paradise tops the list. From the piece:
Boston-area poets of a certain age (I am one) will remember Paul Hannigan, possibly with a shudder. Some of us huddled in informal workshops he attended that were held in an annex to Harvard’s Woodberry Poetry Room: There he could wither a career with a word, a gesture, a look. Irascible, implacable, intimidating, but ingenious and indubitably smarter than anybody when it came to poetry, it’s no exaggeration to acknowledge him now as a local legend.
Born in Cambridge in 1936, he was connected with virtually every literary institution in town for decades. His trade press debut was “Laughing,’’ published by Boston’s own Houghton Mifflin, but he also produced many fascinating chapbooks — usually illustrated with his own arresting drawings — that are priceless, yet can still be had for a song. Time has been unkind to this poet; he died in 2000, almost forgotten. But his work was rediscovered by young poets who have lovingly prepared a new selection….
Our thanks to Mr. Share. Here’s hoping lots will read Paul Hannigan in the new year. Perhaps this bodes well for our next title, Clarity Speaks of a Crystal Sea by Afton Wilky (look for it in February).