Tag Archives: Enough Rope

A Controversial Poem

One of the poems contained in Enough Rope is titled “Résumé” and it is a lot more controversial than I would have guessed. I first read this poem in 2014 and it struck me as something…horrifying but powerful. Here it goes:

“Résumé”

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

To give context, Parker was often depressed and attempted suicide. Her poetry is full of angst, cynicism, and a longing for death. I feel like a poem like this reflects her worldview. There is no hope; this is life. Besides, isn’t there theory that one of the stages of tragedy is humor? In her mocking way, she’s wrestling with the tragedy of her own life. This isn’t designed to be serious, yet it is serious. That is why I find it haunting. 

However, one reviewer on Goodreads calls it, “callous and nursery-rhymish, and too shallow for the profound subject.” He goes on to call its conclusion, “a shopping list of smug quips.”

I’ve been chewing over his words but I find I can’t agree. It is powerful and depressing precisely because it is so trite. It is the title that takes this silly list and makes it powerful. It is “Résumé” because she knows these things only too well. 

What are your thoughts? Is this poem insensitive or powerful?  Haunting or humorless? 

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Two New Books

Shhhh, don’t tell my sisters, but I bought two new books today! The first is The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination by Daniel J. Boorstin. It is 811 pages and I’ve never heard of it before. However, I found it at the bookstore and became intrigued. It was written in 1992 and reviews are few and far between on Goodreads. Who knows? Perhaps I have found a treasure, perhaps a flop. 

The second book I got is Enough Rope by Dorothy Parker. This book contains poems written in 1926 (re-published in 1940) and is only 110 pages long. Dorothy Parker is a biting, brilliant, and fun author to read. The subtitle on this book is, “A brilliant collection of witty verses guaranteed to dispel gloom. By the author of SUNSET GUN and DEATH AND TAXES.”

I don’t know about you, but simply seeing the title of Death and Taxes makes me want to find it. At any rate, Dorothy Parker doesn’t disappoint.