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The above tour not only takes place in the gated yard of the dead, it also passes through the land of the living. The poems in this collection offer the reader/tourist images that present the world in pieces the mind longs to put together. For example, in the poem "of all the books," the first person narrator leaves a museum and sees everything in the world as part of a painting.
Further imagery: a brave hummingbird, a terrified dolphin, an ignored person in a wheelchair, an unforgiving meter maid, a person pushing against a skyscraper, offers the panoply of human emotions experienced by all of us on life's tour.
Rhythm and rhyme appear and disappear along the way in this collection because the metaphysical/physical tour is not regulated. Take for example this anapestic line with internal rhyme from the poem "after reading camus' the stranger."
Note also the end rhyme in the final two lines of this stanza
And notice the playful irregular rhythm and
rhyme in this first stanza from "I dreamt I was an armadillo."
With occasional friskiness and a command of technique, this collection of poems offers varied deights for the reader. There even seems to be a small calligram, a la Apollinaire, at the end of the poem "diffidence."
Do the last three lines above take on the familiar patterns of migrating birds in flight?
Ruth Lepson, who has been poet-in-residence at the New England Conservatory of Music for over twenty years, is an important contemporary poet. Ask anyone! I highly recommend this collection of poems. It will keep your bedside light on longer than you anticipated while you flip through life's metaphysical travel guide.
— Reviewed by Mary Ann Sullivan