Review: The Alphabet of Desire, poems by Barbara Hamby

Barbara Hamby's The Alphabet of Desire is simply a bonanza of musicality, sexuality and honesty. It contains a myriad of allusions to everything from Jane Austen to Daffy Duck, but never hides behind false style or framework. The section actually titled "The Alphabet of Desire" has poems ordered by title alphabetically (one for each letter) and the lines of each are also structured alphabetically (though, somehow, I didn't notice this until I got to the poem for the letter O....way to be paying attention, Lauren. Wayyyy to go.) This structure feels a little forced (how many words can you really use that start with x and z?) but satisfying all the same.

But the last section of the collection was my favorite - her Italian Odes. Ripe with colloquialism, full of wit and bright with realism. These were the poems that seemed closest to her heart - those which were the most real to her and, therefore, the most real to me.

One more book of poetry, and then I get to re-read The Grapes of Wrath :)


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