YO, POE by Frank Gannon


Email this review


Gannon's first collection, 25 parodies and satires written for magazines (The New Yorker, GQ, and Southern), demonstrates literary verve, a good eye for stylistic quirks and some inspired lunacy. However, the pieces are purely literary exercises. There are no characters, no human frailities, nothing to engage our sympathy. It is the ability to transcend the satire at hand that marks humorists of the first rank. Thus, this collection is fun, but not memorable. Many of these pieces are double parodies in which an unlikely pair of people, books, or writing styles are juxtaposed, often spur red by some accidental linking of the two by the popular press. Reagan mentions Springsteen in a speech, and Gannon writes ""The Price You Gotta Pay"": an IRS tax form guide that keeps slipping into The Boss' lyrics. The title story imagines the hilarious result of Sly Stallone's genuine desire to make a movie about Edgar Allan Poe, A parody of Mickey Mantle's memoirs has Attila the Hun fondly recalling his boyish antics of pillage and rapine. The art of the double parody is in hiding the seams, in giving the thing an internal logic, but in ""Pretext for a Gathering,"" a literary conference qua aluminum-siding sales convention, the two pieces are sloppily joined and the ruse collapses. Two of the best pieces here,""! Know What I'm Doing About All the Attention I've Been Getting"" and ""My New Season,"" are in a very different form, strange unreferenced Soliloquies with a delightfully presumptuous self-importance. On the metaphorical dance floor of contemporary humor, Gannon's natural grace and well-studied gyrations will guarantee his popularity. But he'll still go home alone.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1987
Publisher: Viking