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Ballyhoo

poems by Hastings Hensel

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A poetry collection that grapples with the tragicomic nature of language, memory, love, work, and the performative self.

Though at times whimsical and witty, the poems in Hastings Hensel's Ballyhoo inhabit the world beyond and between the punchline. In tightly controlled meditations on language's limits and its necessity, as well as on the many forms that humor takes—comedy, laughter, farce, clowning, parody, and more—Hensel navigates fine lines between joy and sadness, jokes and cruelty, reality and illusion, and irony and sincerity.

Universal in scope, the 47 poems in Ballyhoo are richly…

A poetry collection that grapples with the tragicomic nature of language, memory, love, work, and the performative self.

Though at times whimsical and witty, the poems in Hastings Hensel's Ballyhoo inhabit the world beyond and between the punchline. In tightly controlled meditations on language's limits and its necessity, as well as on the many forms that humor takes—comedy, laughter, farce, clowning, parody, and more—Hensel navigates fine lines between joy and sadness, jokes and cruelty, reality and illusion, and irony and sincerity.

Universal in scope, the 47 poems in Ballyhoo are richly idiomatic and evocative. They are also frequently grounded in the southern Atlantic coast with its particular ecology, characters, history, and myth. The pleasure in reading these poems comes from the original connections Hensel makes between the literary and the gritty: an elegy set in a bait shop, Twelfth Night's Feste delivering a monologue in a bar, a villanelle about a murder on a cruise ship.

These intelligent, insightful poems remind us of the frail but important relationships between comedy, memory, and identity. Ballyhoo offers a sobering examination of the tragicomic nature of the world.

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Ballyhoo

poems by Hastings Hensel

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Reviews

Reviews

Reading Hastings Hensel's Ballyhoo is like uncoiling a hank of yarn. Some threads connect backwards to his first, award-winning poetry collection, Winter Inlet—fraught family, coastal terrain, layered language, rural culture—but there is something new here asserting a strong poetic gravity. Call it topos, logos, mythos, maybe? Something 'deep as the mind's mysteriousness'? I will return to these finely spun poems many times.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
5.5
x
8.5
Pages
104
ISBN
9781421428758
Table of Contents

Spoiler Alert
True Story, No Joke
Comedy and the Uncommon Woman
That Laugh You Have, or, A Study in the Via Negativa
Playing Cards with Mark Strand
Plot Summary
Reality as Prank
"Forgive Us Our

Spoiler Alert
True Story, No Joke
Comedy and the Uncommon Woman
That Laugh You Have, or, A Study in the Via Negativa
Playing Cards with Mark Strand
Plot Summary
Reality as Prank
"Forgive Us Our Happiness"
Recovering the Sunk
Docent
Freud in 1939
Mr. Hall
Against Jubilance
What We Need Here Is a New Dialect Noun
Reading the Water
Coaching the Witness
Questions from the Witness
Old Feste, at the Bar, Remembering
On Taste
Forgetting a Flood
Stage Right
Thinking I Wanted Country Humor
At Slack Tide
After Seeing Four Turtles on a Stump in the Waccamaw River
Funny Farm
Scraping Barnacles from the Hull
The Bait Shop Elegies
Pumping the Trout's Stomach
Storyboard
At the Grave of the Fabulous Moolah
The Comedian Questions Her Timing
Counterpunch Lines
Sea Pork
Misfit, Mountain Town
Sad Clown in the Woods, No Hoax
Wanted: The Raccoon on the Dock
True Story, No Joke
Knuckleheads
Ode to a Boat Mechanic
Laughing Gull
Wherever
Hoke
The Funny Pages
Throwbacks
As I Lay Dying Laughing
Any Which Way You Cut It
Nothing Liquid, Fragile, Hazardous, Perishable
To a Seated Harlequin
Acknowledgments
About the Author

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Hastings Hensel

Hastings Hensel teaches creative writing at Coastal Carolina University. He is the author of Winter Inlet and Control Burn. His poems have appeared in New South, The Greensboro Review, Cave Wall, 32 Poems, and elsewhere.