Beacon Salon – David Kirby and Barbara Hamby

“The Mind of the Writer”

David Kirby (National Book Award finalist) and Barbara Hamby (James Dicky Prize for Poetry) tell their students that the best mind you can have is the mind of the writer. Writers are magpies. We pick up shiny objects in our beaks and then fly home and put them in a certain order and show early drafts to others and incorporate (or ignore) what they say. But isn’t that what a scientist does as they set up an experiment or a lawyer as they prepare an argument for a jury or a chef as they try out a new dish? It’s all one mind. We just call it the mind of the writer.

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Speaker Bio

Barbara Hamby and David Kirby are the authors of more than 40 books of poetry and prose, including fiction, poetry, biography, children’s books, and literary criticism. Each has won numerous prizes, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts. For years Barbara and David have taught a variety of writing courses, both on the Florida State University main campus in Tallahassee and FSU’s international campuses in Italy, Spain, England, and France.

Kirby has authored more than two dozen volumes of criticism, essays, children’s literature, pedagogy, and poetry. His oeuvre includes “The Ha-Ha” (2003), short-listed for the Griffin Poetry Prize, and “The House on Boulevard Street: New and Selected Poems” (2007), a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Florida Book Award and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Award. In nominating “Boulevard Street,” the National Book Award committee noted, “Digression and punctiliousness, directed movement and lollygagging, bemusement and piercing insight are among the many paradoxical dualities that energize and complicate the locomotion of his informed, capacious consciousness.”

Kirby has also won several Pushcart Prizes, the Guy Owen Prize, the Kay Deeter Award, the James Dickey Prize, the Brittingham Prize, and the Millennium Cultural Recognition Award.

Hamby is the author of several poetry collections, including All-Night Lingo Tango (2009); Babel (2004), which won the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ Donald Hall Prize; and Delirium (1995), which won the Vassar Miller Prize, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. Her short story collection, Lester Higata’s 20th Century (2010), won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize/John Simmons Award. With her husband, poet David Kirby, Hamby coedited the anthology Seriously Funny (2010). Hamby’s poetry has been featured in numerous anthologies, including The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry (2011), three editions of Best American Poetry (2010, 2009, and 2000), and Good Poems for Hard Times (2006).

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