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Chatty and whimsical, literary and (at its best) laugh-out-loud funny, Hamby's fourth outing begins with a tour-de-force: monorhyme. All the long lines in Hamby's two-page "Ode to Anglo Saxon, Film Noir, and the Hundred Thousand Anxieties that Plague Me Like Demons in a Medieval Christian Allegory" (yes, that's the title) rhyme, or at least half-rhyme, with one another: "Who are you? Not the hippie chick/ of your early twenties or the Sears and Roebuck/ Christian drudge your mother became, though Satan still stalks/ you...." Most of the volume pursues the same jittery, entertaining pace, with frequent reference to baby-boom-era popular culture, especially film: "Here's to the movie queens with their nose jobs, snow jobs, blow jobs." Long-lined "Odes," most in monorhyme or in loose couplets, give her extroverted, digressive imagination free play, reminiscent by turns of Albert Goldbarth and Ogden Nash: "I was a vegetarian,/ so I know food hang-ups like a Rastafarian/ knows ganja." Hamby (Babel ) also includes a few dozen 13-line sonnets, more restrained, less forceful, and less personal, but determined to juxtapose the ultra-contemporary and the famously literary: "Nietzsche Explains the Ubermensch to Lois Lane." Hamby's autobiographical asides and festive attitudes may seem, to some, like nothing new: yet, often enough, their sheer verve should entertain. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.