I don't have the time or keenness necessary to do justice to a book of poems (in this case, mostly lyric) but I want to recommend this brief volume. Here's a list of my favorite pieces:
- The sequence of seven poems in §1 (though the imitation of Rilke, of whom I know nothing, escapes me). Especially the emotional zenith of "Planting a Sequoia."
- In §3, the self-reflexive and wry "My Confessional Sestina" and "The Next Poem."
- "The Homecoming" (§4), the second of two dramatic monologues, which quite impressively avoids melodrama.
- And several poems in §5. The first, "Becoming a Redwood," naturally recalls but does not repeat "Planting a Sequoia." Instead it renders universal the theme of the Nietzschean narrator in "The Homecoming." The second, "Maze Without a Minotaur," explores this theme again, with the vivid metaphor of its title. The final four poems in the book zero in on the beauties and problems (moral and otherwise) of eros, with "Equations of the Light" (like "Maze Without a Minotaur") capturing them all in a concrete image. Both "Maze" and "Equations" involve walking.
But the reading of each of these poems is enriched by the context (the book's dedication, arrangement and epigraphs). I will be reading more.