The Baboons of Hada: Selected Poems
Eric L. Ormsby, Ph.D. 1981
The Baboons of Hada introduces thirty years of Eric Ormsby’s precise and generous poetry. Opening with an exuberant bestiary of spiders and starfish, penguins, snakes and contemplative baboons, the collection moves on to explore a world of intricate wonders and memories: the grandeur of noses, the mayonnaise tornado whipped up by a kitchen whisk, the gossip gravediggers whisper to the dead. An American childhood and kinships are evoked with loving particularity, alongside a flamboyant caliph, Lazarus and his disenchanted wife, and the great medieval Arab poet al-Mutanabbi writing in exile lines that reverberate across ‘all the empty places’ of the world.
“His poems afford the rare pleasure of listening to a polished yet deeply humane sensibility respond, in language of exhilarating verve, to whatever it seizes on or despairs of.”--The New Criterion