Barbara Hamby

Cindy Seip

Barbara Hamby has published seven books of poetry, most recently Bird Odyssey and On the Street of Divine Love: New and Selected Poems. She also has written a book of linked stories, Lester Higata’s 20th Century, and with her husband, David Kirby, edited the poetry anthology Seriously Funny: Poems about Love, Death, Religion, Art, Politics, Sex, and Everything Else. “Holoholo” is the Hawaiian word for walking out with no destination in mind. Appropriately, in Hololo: Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press), Hamby walks out into the current American chaos with its inferno of wars, street violence, apocalyptic fantasies, and racial tension. In a book organized in three sections, using an American lingo that embraces slang, Yiddish, street talk, and the yearning to be able to describe her moment in time, Hamby offers poems that encompass our complicated past, difficult present, and unknown future. Writing about her work, the Women’s Review of Books noted that Hamby “has cultivated a polyglot idiom all her own, of anecdotes, erudition, and American pop culture. She combines a deadly serious love for the power of language with irreverence …”