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February 2009
88 pages  

6 x 8.5
9780822960171
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All-Night Lingo Tango
Hamby, Barbara
This collection is a love letter to language with poems that are drunk and filled with references to the hyperkinetic world of the twenty-first century. Yet Zeus and Hera tangle with Leda on the interstate; Ava Gardner becomes a Hindu princess; and Shiva, the Destroyer, reigns over all. English is the primary god here, with its huge vocabulary and omnivorous gluttony for new words, yet the mystery of the alphabet is behind everything, a funky puppet master who can make a new world out of nothing.

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Barbara Hamby is the author of four poetry collections, including All-Night Lingo Tango and Babel, winner of the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. Her book of linked stories, Lester Higata's 20th Century, received the 2010 Iowa Short Fiction Award/John Simmons Award. She also coedited an anthology of poetry, Seriously Funny, with her husband David Kirby. Hamby is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Kate Tufts Award, and numerous other honors. Her poems have been widely anthologized, including The Best American Poetry 2000, 2009, and 2010. She is a Distinguished University Scholar at Florida State University, specializing in poetry and fiction.
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This collection is a love letter to language with poems that are drunk and filled with references to the hyperkinetic world of the twenty-first century. Yet Zeus and Hera tangle with Leda on the interstate; Ava Gardner becomes a Hindu princess; and Shiva, the Destroyer, reigns over all. English is the primary god here, with its huge vocabulary and omnivorous gluttony for new words, yet the mystery of the alphabet is behind everything, a funky puppet master who can make a new world out of nothing.
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“Scant verbiage cannot rise to the occasion of these brilliantly overbrimming, beautifully bountiful, life-stuffed, word-smart, unconstrained but strangely formal, wise and wicked and zaftig lovelies. They turn 'wretched excess' to 'blessed excess' and declare a new physics of plenitude.”—Albert Goldbarth

“As the poet has discovered for herself, NOTHING succeeds like excess. Her poems have taught me how to be happy while hysterical, or even just how to be hysterical without tears. Who else could get me there so fast, so far, so fastidious? Seriously, the All-Night Lingo Tango is the way out even before dark, and I cherish every disyllabic slur: baa baa, Barbara, have you any bull? The answer is yes sir, yes sir, nobody's fool.”—Richard Howard

“With its hyperintensity of imagery, humor, and substance sustained throughout, All Night Lingo Tango is a whirling genius of a book.”—Susan Hahn

“Chatty and whimsical, literary and (at its best) laugh-out-loud funny.” —Publishers Weekly

“Strap on your dancing shoes before opening Barbara Hamby’s fourth collection ‘All-Night Lingo Tango.’ The language is lush and erotic, as Hamby trips from one allusion and image to another so fast the reader is left breathless and giddy.” —Tallahassee Democrat

“Swiveling, strumming, and slicing through air like an intimate Alvin Ailey ensemble, Hamby exhales a world the shape of associated conditions and intimate emotions out of her carefully chosen words. The poems are individually stunning. Collected together, they dance.”—Barnes & Noble Review

“Reading Barbara Hamby is like savoring a fine multi-course meal. Her poems are thick and meaty, filled with savory details, but full of subtle nuances only realized on multiple reads. She fuses humor, pop culture, literature, travel, and romance in an ebullient mix.”—Bomb Magazine

“Barbara Hamby triple-somersaults, dives, flips, and swings from rung to rung high over our heads on the flying trapeze. . . . Don’t miss [All-Night Lingo Tango] . . . It’s a perfect gift to yourself.” —Portland Writing Examiner

“Combines an intense love affair with language and a consideration of it.Throughout the collection, Hamby has enormous fun with the English language. . . .Anyone who has contemplated fear; had a comment to make about war or religion; is passionate about cake; enjoys music, words, and sound; and keeps pluging at life as best as possible, with a brilliant vitality is a peer of Hamby’s, and will laugh, think, and tap toes in rhythm to her book.” —Hollins Critic

“There are two things that give these poems artistic, intellectual, and emotional ballast. First, Hamby’s range of allusion brings the world of American popular culture into contact with a larger artistic world that enriches both . . . Second and just as important is Hamby’s use of poetic form.”—West Branch


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