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Dawn Lundy Martin

1. When you hear the old shibboleth that “women don’t have a sense of humor” or are “less funny than men,” your immediate response is_______________.

(Eye roll)

2. Were you funny as a kid? Were you funnier (or less funny) as teenager?

I don't think I was especially funny as a kid because I had so much anxiety! I was definitely funnier as a teenager because I smoked a lot of pot.

3. What’s the most notable way your life would be different if you didn’t have your sense ofhumor?

Humor, for me, is a way to feel lighter even when things look grim.

4. If you could have a magnificent dinner with three women—real, fictional, mythological—who would you choose as your guests?

Clarice Lispector, Toni Morrison, and Rhianna!

5. Do you think those closest to you admire you for your sense of humor—or despite your sense of humor?

Well, my partner says, I can sometimes play too hard like a big dog who accidentally tramples the smaller dog, so I guess, in spite of it at times.

Dawn Lundy Martin is a poet and essayist. She is the author of four books of poems including Good Stock Strange Blood (Coffee House Press), which was the winner of the 2019 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for Poetry. Her nonfiction can be found in The New Yorker, Harper’s, n+1, The Believer, and Best American Essays 2019. Martin is a Professor of English in the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh and Director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics.


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