Bookcover: Delirium


vol. 2: Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry

Barbara Hamby — author. 
Contributors: Cynthia Macdonald, Judge
  • Claremont Graduate School Kate Tufts Award, 1996
  • Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award, 1995
  • Winner of the Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, 1994
Subject: Poetry

November, 1995




Recommended Text

Ideal for Classrooms



Paperback, Hardcover


About Hamby's Delirium

“Barbara Hamby is an extraordinary discovery! A poet of compassion and elegance, she is a poet whose debut in Delirium promises a rich (and enriching) lifelong project.” —Cynthia Macdonald

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.

Severn Falls Asleep

Death crawls closer
on nights like these,
the chill creeps in
and hangs on the walls
like curtains.
The fire dies,
the candle is eaten
by its weak fluttering flame.
My eyes close.
I have sat up so many nights
with him
they fall together
into one long stream
of darkness that flows
through my veins,
rattles in my ears
as his breath rattles
in his chest,
like a child’s toy
but darker
and more slowly.

Classroom Adoption

Delirium is a recommended text for use in classrooms where the following subjects are being studied: Creative Writing, Literature, and Poetry.

Winner of the 1994 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry. Booklist calls it an “elegant, intelligent, witty collection.”

Adopted By

[“University of Toledo”]

About the Author

BARBARA HAMBY was born in New Orleans and was raised in Hawai’i. She is a poet, fiction writer, editor, and critic. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The Paris Review, Western Humanities Review, and Negative Capability. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

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