ABOUT JERRY HAMBY
Jerry Hamby is a native of Amarillo, Texas. He and his wife Susan live in Houston and he teaches English and humanities at Lee College in Baytown. Letters Drawn in Water is his first book.
Letters Drawn in Water
"Readers of Letters Drawn in Water will find themselves in the company of a gifted poet who gathers in the sweetest and sharpest both life and art have to offer, yet in unexpected sequence... Like the newspaper boy who pedals his bicycle in reverse in the elegant "Film Boy," Hamby magically retrieves the news of human intimacy and longing, house by house." Mylène Dressler, author of The Medusa Tree , The Deadwood Beetle and The Floodmakers
"The poems in this collection offer experiences through imagery. Hamby loans us his eyes so we can see as he did when crafting the poems, so we can feel as he did when he converted his subject matter into art. He turns his eyes on a multitude of subjects from paintings of masters like Manet and O'Keefe to the handwritten manuscripts of Hopkins' poetry, and he crystallizes in words vignettes from his own life. This is a collection of poetry I will return to often and always with pleasure."
Jerry Craven , author of Snake Mountain and Tickling Catfish: ATexan Looks at Culture from Amarillo to Borneo
“Poets like Hamby are different from the rest of us. They see everything. Study everything. No detail escapes them. They suck in the raw ore of life, melt it down, compact it, craft it. When it cools—if it doesn’t crack—they’ve created a perfect symbol of experience.”
—Rick Smith, The San
A German POW stands in the Chihuahuan Desert,
surveys mountains rising beyond the camp.
He wonders how he will cut the fence, where
he will go if he catches a freight heading east,
considers the fates that plucked him
from a French battlefield
and plopped him in the Trans-Pecos of West Texas.
He tears a catclaw branch from his trousers,
lights a cigarette bartered from a guard.
The sweep of a rifle barrel tells him
to walk back to the barracks.
Words are rarely spoken, the only German,
warnings on the wall.
Fifty years later he returns to the camp.
In the shadows of the Chinati Mountains,
conceptual art has replaced chain link and razor wire,
and aluminum cubes line the barracks,
variations of plane and polished surface, reflecting
light, casting shadows between walls of glass,
silent as sleeping soldiers.