Delirium

Delirium

by Barbara Hamby
     
 

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Barbara Hamby makes her poems out of jokes, Italian phrases, quotes from saints and philosophers, references to meals eaten and wines drunk. In a fluid, compelling voice, she sets a stage, peoples it with real and imagined characters, spins them into dizzying motion, and then makes everything disappear as with a wave of a conjurer's wand, leaving the reader to…  See more details below

Overview


Barbara Hamby makes her poems out of jokes, Italian phrases, quotes from saints and philosophers, references to meals eaten and wines drunk. In a fluid, compelling voice, she sets a stage, peoples it with real and imagined characters, spins them into dizzying motion, and then makes everything disappear as with a wave of a conjurer's wand, leaving the reader to wonder, “Did that happen, or did I dream it?” One leaves her poetry the way one leaves a dark theater on a July afternoon, convinced that the ordinary passions really won't do—they need to be larger, as large as they are in these poems.

Editorial Reviews

Patricia Monaghan
In this elegant, intelligent, witty collection--winner of this year's Vassar Miller prize in poetry--Hamby frequently favors a six-beat, alexandrine-like line in couplets that in her hands become turbocharged, multilingual compendia. Her subject is often the miraculous discovered in the ordinary: "There is always a miracle if you know / where to look," she reminds us. There is nothing remotely ordinary, however, about the language in which she reveals that miracle. A wildly fluent poem about eggs, for instance, brings us from breakfast through Piero della Francesca's painting of Christ and Faberge's "begemmed and enameled concoctions" to recipes for meringue and then lands squarely, finally, at the miracle of life itself. Once started, it's hard to stop reading Hamby, so tightly does she knit each line of her rich, full, strong poetry to the next.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781574410020
Publisher:
University of North Texas Press
Publication date:
10/01/1995
Series:
Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry Series
Pages:
103

Meet the Author


Barbara Hamby was born in New Orleans and was raised in Hawai'i. She is a poet, fiction writer, editor, and critic. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The Paris Review, Western Humanities Review, and Negative Capability. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

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