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Holy Tango of Literature Paperback – October 14, 2004
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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
Heaneys work is whip-smart and laugh-out-loud funny. HOLY TANGO (thats an anagram of "anthology"see it now?) will send gullible readers scrambling for their old literature textbooks to hunt down ersatz classics.
Top customer reviews
One or two are more affectionate than barbed, and most resonate on several levels. I'm holding myself back from quoting all of such gems as "Till I Must Be a Lawyer" by William Butler Yeats, which begins "I will arise now, and go study law at Duke / As my father went before me, by frat and sheepskin made..." If you're the target audience for this book you'll recognize the rhythm and approach of one of Yeats' more famous anthology pieces. Or the two different e.e. cummings parodies, BOTH named "nice smug me". "Dammit Dave" by David Mamet manages to rewrite the critical scene between Dave and Hal from 2001 in perfect Mamet style.
And so on. It's a gem. The only flaw is that there aren't enough Richard Thompson drawings.
P.S. You already didn't have to read Harold Pinter (life being too short) but if you insist, go read Heaney's Horrid Planet. Arrives at the same conclusions as Pinter in about 1/3200 the time.
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.
We had relatives visiting, and my husband's niece was in tears from laughing so hard at Robert Frost/"BrR, Footrest". Who else would come up with a surreal combination of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and the opening credits of "The Dick van Dyke Show"? Absolutely brilliant stuff.
Looking for a great gift for your friends who love a good juxtaposition of classic literature and popular culture? "Holy Tango" of Literature should be on your shopping list!
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.