Poet Matt Guenette visits IWU, challenges poetry ideals

By Farah Bassyouni Oct 9, 2023

On October 5, guest comedian poet Matt Guenette visited Illinois Wesleyan to share his work in attempting to subvert the creative writing form of poetry.  

Guenette, author of poetry collections “Doom Scroll”, “Vasectomania”, “American Busboy” and “Sudden Anthem” visited campus to provide  the Bloomington-Normal community with a selected reading of his works. 

Guenette spoke in Professor of English Mike Theune’s Comedy Writing class, as well as other faculty attending. Inspired by comedians, Guenette aimed to write comedic poetry that challenged the traditional idea of poetry. 

            “I was doing what a lot of people were doing, what they thought they were supposed to be doing when they are being poets,” Guenette said about his earlier works. 

            “I find poetry’s umbrella the biggest,” Guenette said about his use of the poetic form to write comedy. 

            When asked where he finds the inspiration for comedy in his writing, Guenette said “I tend to write about the things that really bother me.” Using written observational ideas, Guenette was inspired to create comedic poetry out of the minor inconveniences of life. 

           “A lot of humor is spontaneous, and the illusion of spontaneity is labored over,” Guenette said. 

           At Beckman Auditorium, Guenette read selections of his poetry from his recent collection, “Doomscroll.” 

Introducing Guenette at the reading, Theune said “Matt Guenette is furious, and he turns that fury into comedy.”

           Guenette’s selections included the struggles of living through a pandemic with children, the increasingly polarized politics of the U.S. and a bodybuilding fry cook. 

             “I find that the world does the hyperbole and exaggeration for me,” Guenette said.

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