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Holy Tango of Literature Paperback – October 14, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Clerisy Press, Emmis Books (October 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578601592
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578601592
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,532,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A very funny and possibly classic anthology. -- Mark O'Donnell, author of Let Nothing You Dismay and creator of Hairspray

All bow down to Francis Heaney. He is a gob-smacking genius! -- David Rakoff, author of Fraud

EACH YEAR FINNS say that FRANCIS HEANEY is A REFINANCE SHY of a FANCY EAR SHINE... He's finally arrived. -- Neal Pollack, author of The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature

Francis Heaney displays a verbal dexterity that should commend him to any savvy reader craving the... literary parody experience. -- Randy Cohen, writer of The Ethicist in New York Times Magazine

Heaney's exquisite writing ... and considerable wit are utterly squandered in this trivial literary pastiche-- ... exactly why I loved it ... -- Will Shortz, Crossword Editor, The New York Times

From the Publisher

Heaney’s work is whip-smart and laugh-out-loud funny. HOLY TANGO (that’s an anagram of "anthology"—see it now?) will send gullible readers scrambling for their old literature textbooks to hunt down ersatz classics.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra Ringe on November 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
You must have this book. To wit, a sample of the brilliance within:

Skinny Domicile
by Emily Dickinson
(actually by Francis Heaney, who wrote poems whose titles are anagrams of canonical poets' names; he used the poets' styles, meters, et al)

I have a skinny Domicile-
Its Door is very narrow.
'Twill keep-I hope-the Reaper out-
His Scythe-and Bones-and Marrow.

Since Death is not a portly Chap,
The Entrance must be thin-
So-when my Final Moment comes-
He cannot wriggle in.

That's why I don't go out that much-
I can't fit through that Portal.
How dumb-to waste my Social Life
On Plans to be-immortal-

Mr. Heaney is a true wordsmith and a _really_ funny one at that. The perfect present for anyone who has ever had to read a sonnet. It's true that I worked with this man at Modern Humorist, but he has added tons of new work (including forms other than poetry) that I haven't seen yet, and I can't wait to get my copy.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amy on June 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is wonderful stuff by a true comic polymath. Just read "Likable Wilma" by William Blake, which begins, "Wilma, Wilma, in thy blouse, Red-haired prehistoric spouse" , and you'll know what I mean. I have a conflict of interest here (I drew the pictures) but I laughed hard at Francis Heaney's work before I got tangled up with it, when I first saw it in Mirth of a Nation. Buy The Holy Tango today! The children of America should be committing it to memory!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By j-hay on April 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
This expertly-crafted and flawlessly erudite effort would be well worth one's attention as a jaw-droppingly-impressive literary stunt, even if it weren't that funny. The fact that it is, on top of everything else, hilarious makes it absolutely irresistible.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Betty Ragan on February 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
It takes a certain amount of talent to write a good pastiche, particularly, I think, of poetry. And it takes a certain degree of twisted brilliance to come up with the idea of writing parodies based on anagrams of the author's names. But it takes nothing more than genius to capture each author's style absolutely dead on, weave in a host of clever pop culture references, and produce something that pleases the frontal lobes of the brain even as it mounts an all-out tickle war on the funnybone. This book is a work of absolute freakin' genius.

I should note, by the way, that you really don't have to be a lit geek to enjoy this. I hardly consider myself a poetry connoisseur, but I recognized the great majority of the pieces being parodied. Heaney seems to have stuck to the author's most famous works, many of which are familiar from high school English classes. And even the ones whose source I didn't recognize entertained me. Which, when you think about it, is all the more impressive.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By 2ManyCooks on December 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
1 The War Horses of Literature get saddled, bridled, and pranced around the Big Top with about as much reverence as buffoonery. Heaney can parody as many people as Las Vegas superstar Danny Gans, and there's no 2-drink minimum or $100 ticket that's probably sold out anyway since you didn't book in advance.
2 The book's design: It's been "anagrammed" as well: this is your high school English book, torn apart and reassembled. The book is brimming with liberally applied wit.
3 Heaney slaps his anagramatic skill on everything from the title ("Holy Tango" is "anthology," rearranged) to "The Note About the Typeface" ("Hey, a beat poet, a cute font"). This must be what he does at parties: shakes hands, learns your name, and then invents anagrams for you while sipping absinthe martinis.
4 Richard Thompson's illustrations. So now the book has a second twist like that ride on the midway that first has you spinning, and then has you dipping up and down.
5 Stamps! A full page of colorful stamps.
6 The small pleasure in seeing Maya Angelou and Sylvia Plath receive a little comeuppance.
7 The soon-to-be-immortal parody of Euripides, rearranged as "I Reuse Dip," a classical treatment of the Seinfeld episode where George dips twice in the humus.
8 The already classic "Hairball King" by the regrettably immortal Kahlil Gibran, in which a tabby is instructed in the ways of the humans.
9 Positive proof that laughter's one of the nobler callings, higher powers, and loftier things in life. You come away from this book saying, "Sheesh, I wish I were that smart," but using your own words.
10 On the other hand, you think, "Why bother." You can just enjoy this book and keep on being your own merry self.
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