Hecht’s sophomore effort is one of the most entertaining, and most original, books of the year. Its conceit, barring a few introductory sonnets, is to riff on jokes-become-aphorisms, dismantling assumptions as quickly as she dishes punch lines… hyperintelligent …subtle, [and] wise.
— Publishers Weekly, starred review



"Love Explained"

"Funny Strange"

Garrison Keillor reads Hecht's "The Story of My Life"

Interview with Hecht on Funny


Blind Love

Lady says, Doc, I think I need glasses.
Teller says, You sure do, Lady, this is a bank.

Lady wanders out, it's winter, wonders whether
other things have got mistaken, too.

At home she ambles through the house
with the sudden feeling that it all has been

rewritten. Notices a shadow as ivy peels from brick,
clatter of silverware drawer, a quarter

on her bathroom floor. As on a vase the piper
plays not to the ear but to the more endeared

inner listener, so, quiet in an April afternoon,
late sun erupts a riot into her room.

Coin and cutlery grow red; wood glows golden in the hall.
Outside, ivy tendrils find new purchase on the wall.


"[A] true, unique, twisted, heartfelt, funny take on jokes and life. I have always thought comedy and comedians were looked down on as 'circus fare'- for entertainment, but not 'important.' This poetry is funny and important. Its poet is an intellectual clown and one of a kind." 
— Andrea Martin
Actor, comedian, Emmy-winner, Tony-winner

“[Y]ou will not find better meditations on the matter than these deep, delightful poems.”
— Ted Cohen, author of Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters

"Funny leaves no doubt that humor has finally reclaimed its legitimate place in American poetry. Playing off a catalogue of jokes which we all recognize, as well as serious theories about the comic,Jennifer Michael Hecht has produced a collection like no other. Her poems are delights, transparently readable yet carefully crafted, precisely poised.” 

— Billy Collins

"Hecht’s poems do not only amuse; they also disturb, or discover, or warn. Funny [is] a smart book, a serious and sympathetic book, and a book literate people who don’t read much new poetry (as well as those who do) can enjoy."
— Stephen Burt in the March, 2006 issue of The Believer

"What a book. Ms. Hecht takes humor as her focus and she focuses tightly. ... Her investigation...is bright and informed ... This book works as an intelligent exploration of "funny" and is quite often very funny in the process. ... [R]ich in originality and verve."
— from the web site of Open Books: A Poem Emporium in Seattle, WA

"[W]hen a book comes along that manages to balance the essentials—call them comic and tragic, or prosaic and lyric, or coffee and wine—this reader can't help but receive it with immense gratitude."   — Aaron Welborn in issue 6.2 of Diagram

The Best American Poetry 2005 edited by David Lehman and guest edited by Paul Muldoon, features Jennifer Michael Hecht's poem The Propagation of the Species, from Funny.

Funny, winner of the 2005 Felix Pollak Prize, is available from University of Wisconsin Press