By Barbara Hamby
Barbara Hamby makes her poems out of jokes, Italian words, fees from saints and philosophers, references to nutrients eaten and wines under the influence of alcohol. In a fluid, compelling voice, she units a level, peoples it with actual and imagined characters, spins them into dizzying movement, after which makes every little thing disappear as with a wave of a conjurer's wand, leaving the reader to ask yourself, “Did that ensue, or did I dream it?” One leaves her poetry the way in which one leaves a depressing theater on a July afternoon, confident that the normal passions particularly will not do—they have to be higher, as huge as they're in those poems.
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