Love-In-Idleness by Christopher Hennessy

  • Christopher-Hennessy-Love-In-Idleness-Poetry
  • Christopher-Hennessy

Finalist for the Thom Gunn Award for Best Gay Book of Poetry.

Shifting intuitively between youthful belligerence, the individualization of collective myths, and portraits of erotic maturity and angst, Christopher Hennessy’s debut collection of poetry, Love-In-Idleness, commits itself to lyrical explorations underpinned by a sharp and honest introspection. These poems forget themselves, undulate, embrace the actual, dissolve and regroup in their efforts to detail moments of sustained interruption and desire. Here you will find a study of the vivisection of a Midwestern family, a soliloquy from the lover of a Han Dynasty emperor, the re-imagined death of Saint Sebastian, a steamy appropriation of Satie’s humorous score notes, an admirer’s courting of Carl Linnaeus, and the impending finality of a deathbed vigil. Together they announce the arrival of a gifted new voice in American poetry.

by Christopher Hennessy

Pub Date: October 1, 2011
84 pages

Print ISBN: 9781936767021
Ebook ISBN: 9781936767083

Cover Art by David Drummond

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“If I were to reduce this book to a single letter, it would be O. Opulence, obsession, orgasm and opera all start with an open throat, a gape, a release of pent-up desire. So, too, does Christopher Hennessy’s Love-In-Idleness emanate from the opening of the throat to the shudder and release of the last and final word. Oh, I thought, reading these urgent, physical, dangerously beautiful poems, with ‘the terror ripping open my mouth at the corners’. Yes, and Oh, yes and O…”

D. A. Powell

Christopher Hennessy’s poems yearn for a sense of certainty, feel their way for a foothold that, ultimately, may not be there. From childhood poems of family and farm (as unsettling, in their vivid realism, as Roethke’s greenhouse poems) to persona poems of deep erotic longing, Hennessy maintains an artful and risky determination, in each poem, ‘to understand the need its song speaks.

David Trinidad

Christopher Hennessy gets the rhythm right, the timbre right, and the heart-sense right. Every detail is in place, and the whole ensemble sings. There’s hard labor behind these poems—in Oscar Wilde’s sense, and in Emily Dickinson’s. (Did Emily talk about hard labor? Indirectly, yes.) Wise about words and about the world, Hennessy’s poems cut no corners, though they are full of the melancholy wisdom that hides in coverts, closets, hope-chests, crevices, and other concealed places. I praise Hennessy’s talent, his ardor-packed process, and the shapeliness of the results.

Wayne Koestenbaum

Love-in-Idleness is made up of muscular poems in which nouns and adjectives, verbs and adverbs truly pull their weight. Hennessy is a wordsmith if ever there was one. Line endings, too, often surprise and delight (Aunt Bert shuffles around the sun/porch in a pink and yellow apron). These are lyric narratives that engage and move us. [This] collection is layered, multi-dimensional, and impressive for its technical virtuosity and passion.

Martha Rhodes

Review from Lambda Literary
Review from The Light We Swallow
Review from Switchback Review
Review from The Offending Adam
Review from Indiana Review

Interview with Lambda Literary
Interview with The Nervous Breakdown
Interview with Yrteop
Interview with First Book Interviews Blog
Interview with Merry Gangemi & Woman-Stirred Radio

Christopher-HennessyChristopher Hennessy is the author of Outside the Lines: Talking with Contemporary Gay Poets (University of Michigan Press). He earned an MFA from Emerson College and currently is a Ph.D. candidate in English Literature at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He was included in Ploughshares‘ special “Emerging Writers” edition, and his poetry, interviews, and book reviews have appeared in American Poetry Review, Verse, Cimarron Review, The Writer’s Chronicle, The Bloomsbury Review, Court Green, OCHO, Crab Orchard Review, Natural Bridge, Wisconsin Review, Brooklyn Review, Memorious, and elsewhere. Hennessy is a longtime associate editor for The Gay & Lesbian Review-Worldwide.

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A PDF sample of some of Christopher Hennessy’s poetry from Love-In-Idleness.