The Problem of Boredom in Paradise by Paul Hannigan

166 pages, 7x9, $20

Paul Hannigan, society reporter on safari, sketches serpentine philosophers and corporatebaboons, chronicles “these degrading surprises we call our days.” Like a good comedian, he paints these fools on his own face, in othered self-portraits, alternately toothy and toothless, sad saccharine, smothered in “moral sherbet.” Hannigan mumble mumbles a messy subjectivity, all the insecurities of our race, gender, sexuality. He can be rhapsodically self-felicitous in fantasies of self-pity. He can be witty, crude, and brutally cruel. Paul Hannigan, fall-guy, castaway, shackles Milton with suburban shopping malls and maps over happiness with The Bush, that colonial/genital beachhead. Hannigan’s poems are busy napping, bong coughing, constantly undressing, disabling, donning a series of hospital gowns. Perverted lyrics parade from his hopelessly open mouth.

About the Author

Paul Hannigan was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1936. There, in and around the Boston poetry scene, he grew up as a poet in the company of writers such as Fanny Howe, Bill Knott, William Corbett, DeWitt Henry, Tom Lux, and James Tate. His publishing life extended from the late 60s to the late 70s with a small number of books and chapbooks. He taught at Emerson College and was an occasional editor/reviewer for Ploughshares and The Harvard Review. Hannigan suffered from a series of debilitating illnesses for most of his adult life, from which he eventually succumbed in 2000. He left behind a world of notebooks, unpublished poems, short stories, unfinished novels, fragments, comics and drawings.

The Problem of Boredom in Paradise contains selections from a young Hannigan's  A Theory of Learning (1966), the chapbook Holland and the Netherlands (Jim Randall's Pym Randall Press, 1970), selections from his books Laughing (Houghton Mifflin, 1970) and The Carnation (Tom Lux's Barn Dream Press, 1972), and the entirety of Bringing Back Slavery (Dolphin Editions, 1976). Also: a large portion of an unpublished manuscript The Higher Slum (1975), and assortment of other unpublished works from the '80s and '90s, and a few original drawings.