In this mini-collection of city/country poems in mostly free verse, Stephanie Barbé Hammer runs in and out of sprinklers in a Manhattan playground, picks up a slug by accident in the Cascades, reads about sequoia on 5th avenue, make an uncomfortable journey to the Hôpital américain in Paris, strolls a surprisingly sensual Geneva Switzerland at 2 am, encounters a mountain lion in Anaheim Hills, boards buses and trains In Los Angeles, and attempts repeatedly to make peace with living in rural Washington State, with the spiritual assistance of Eva Gabor.
Glide into Stephanie Barbe Hammer’s evocative and lush magic circle that swirls a lifetime: sandboxes and sprinklers of a long ago Central Park, an enchanted moment under a country sky where she sees stars for the first time and makes wishes to bring back to the city, her apartment in L.A. where she imagines the footsteps above “like noisy angels moving the furniture of paradise.” She asks her readers, “Isn’t beauty always hard,” and we say, ‘No—not when we read your poems. Then, beauty is easy.’
Kim Dower, former Poet Laureate of West Hollywood, author of five collections including I Wore This Dress Today for You, Mom
Stephanie Barbé Hammer’s adventurous chapbook, anchored in the cities of her life, reminiscing in her unique, delicious way about past places and pleasures, charmed me from the start. She, as she says, “knew myself different.” Hammer’s magic is in making the mundane magnificent. I adored this collection. Highly recommended.
Alexis Rhone Fancher, author of Stiletto Killer and Erotic: New and Selected Poems
Hammer captures what is essential about the outdoors, how being away from the tightly controlled dynamic of indoor spaces can be deep, spiritual magic. Here we have the joy of the ocean and the power of the stars. We have swings and ice cream out of doors dripping and wonderful. We have adult hikes through the wilderness and walks through town. We have the natural world where no one expects it, in downtown Geneva and New York that seems so manufactured and constructed but Hammer know that it is everywhere always around us.
John Brantingham, Sequoia Poet Laureate, and author of Life: Orange to Pear
With a Mary Oliver-like awareness of her surroundings, Stephanie Barbé Hammer details the many sights, sounds, and fleeting moments from her childhood, elevating the seemingly mundane to the magical. Additionally, she offers insights into her life as an adult—traveling from NYC to California and the Pacific Northwest—charting her inner and outer journey to discover a balance between city and nature. City Slicker proves that a small poetry collection can wield tremendous wit and wonder.
Rich Ferguson, Beat Poet Laureate and author of Everything is Radiant Between the Hates