Annal: 1996 Kate Tufts Discovery Award

Results of the Tufts Poetry Awards in the year 1996.

Book:Delirium

Delirium

Barbara Hamby

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.

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