Published on Academy of American Poets (

Artistic Statement

My body of work is very similar to my corporal body. I often employ traditional forms (Spanx/dieting) but just as often revert to a more copious mode (cake/lazy afternoons). In that I wear little makeup (sensitive skin/feminist stance) I use few purely poetic flourishes except for rhyme—both internal and end line (lipstick/nail polish) conceding to self-conscious artifice. Perhaps because I grew up Catholic, I am drawn to acrostics (crosses) and punitive syllable counting (the rosary). I am interested in bodies seen and not seen (bikinis, muumuus, the dead and not-yet-born), poems written and yet-to-be-written. Holy ghost poems that cannot be read but only felt.  


Copyright © 2016 by Denise Duhamel. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 17, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Every once in a while a person unfamiliar with contemporary literature asks me a question along the lines of, ‘What is your poetry like? What’s it about?’ Having recently fumbled through an answer yet once again, I jealously thought of the beauty of a painter’s ‘artist statement.’ That was the impetus for this poem.”
—Denise Duhamel


Denise Duhamel

Born in 1961, Denise Duhamel is the author of numerous books and chapbooks of poetry, including Blowout (University of Pittsburgh, 2013).

Date Published: 2016-08-17

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