The conceit that unites this poetry collection is the technology, lore, and tradition of printing. The Hellbox is the box into which printers chucked broken or worn hot-metal type. Delanty expands this conceit to include a wide human discourse of family feelings and affections. His own father was a master-printer, and some of the poems are expressions of the deepest love between father and son. The passing on of skills between generations is also taken up into the emotional and intellectual shaping of the work, as is the theme of genetic imprinting.
Greg Delanty was born in Ireland and has lived in Vermont for over ten years, where he teaches at St. Michael's College. In 1996 he won the Austin Clarke Centenary Poetry Award. The Hellbox is his fourth collection of poetry.