On the Street of Divine Love: New and Selected Poems by Barbara Hamby

 DIVINESeries: Pitt Poetry Series
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (January 21, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0822962888
ISBN-13: 978-0822962885
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Review by: g emil reutter
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Her words whirl along the pages encased in a cyclone of metaphor and images, full of passion and reality. Hamby is comfortable eating barbecue in southern Georgia, hanging out at the town hardware store as she is in Paris or flying with angels, dealing with Satan and idols, saints and old cowboys.
 
From – Questions for My Body
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Your brain like 100 million hornets in a Campbell’s Soup can,
                 so where’s the axe to split it open?
Speaking of can openers, what is it about midnight that makes
                 your spine shake like the hand of a holy roller
                 shooting craps against a back alley curb?
                 Click, click, click — snake eyes, and all your pretty dresses
                  lie in tatters, Ave Maria and her butternut squash.
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From – Ode to Barbecue
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We are lost again in the middle of redneck nowhere,
                  Which is a hundred times scarier
than any other nowhere because everyone has guns.
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Hamby sets the stage and takes a twist near the end of the poem
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                … we bear Adam’s stain, and the only way
To heaven is to be washed in the blood of the Lamb,
                 Which is kind of what happen when out of the South
Georgia woods we see a little shack with smoke
                  Pouring from the chimmey through it’s August
And steamier than a mild day in Hell; we sit at a picnic table
                   and a broad-bellellied man sets down plates of ribs,
a small mountain of red meat, so differenct from Paris
                    where for my birthday my husband took me
to an elegant place where we ate tiney ribs washed down
                   with a subline St.-Josephe. Oh, don’t bet me wrong,
they were good, but the whole time I was out of sorts,
                    squirming on my perfect chair, disgruntled,
because I wanted to be at Tiny Register’s, Kojacks
                J.B.’s, I wanted ribs all right but big juicy ribs dripping
With sauce, the secret recipe handed down from grandmother
                to father to son, sauce that could take the paint off a Buick,
a hot, sin lacerating concoction of tomatoes, jalapenos
                and sugar, washed down with iced tea, Coca-Cola, beer,
because there’s no water in Hell, and Hell is hot, oh yeah.
 
Hamby’s unconventional style causes page after page to turn and upon reaching the last page of this selected poetry collection, the reader is left looking for more. She is a poet of energy, breathing life into words with passion. The way a poet should.
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g emil reutter at Chop Suey Books– g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. (USA).

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