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Dougherty, a touring performance poet with solid academic credentials, synthesizes varied traditions and aesthetics in this energetic collection of poems and prose pieces. Adept at both urban rhythms and traditional meters, he can eulogize a jazz giant in measured heroic couplets ("Thelonius Monk's small hat, perched like a parrot/ contrapunting the keys, his chords deep as if a garret/ caught a note") as easily as improvise a call out to Walt Whitman ("Behold the paper butterfly and the iridescent puff as the old man stands up, wipes off his baggy pants"). Fond of creating nonce forms-the "collapsed" canzone, the oberek (based on the three-beat polka)-Dougherty aspires to design "choreographies of chance" that set words, and the worlds they encompass, in motion. Part surrealist, part hip-hop poet, part Romantic, he draws on personal memory, family history, European travel, and the phantasmagoric elements of everyday life ("boys in baseball caps with their radio/ Transforming the block into yellow, green, red, breaking/ the syntax of the sidewalk") to create a lively, sometimes graceful, and often insightful field guide to our multifaceted American Zeitgeist. Recommended for most poetry collections.