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If there's an overriding theme to Atwood's latest volume of poems, her first since Morning in the Burned House(1995), it's the messiness of love. As the widely lauded author presents it in these 50 poems, love is shape-shifting; its moments of tenderness, toughness, insights, and insults appear and disappear like the Cheshire cat. Atwood looks at cats, crickets, butterflies, woods, gardens, autumn, a dying mother, the difficulties of aging-specifically of being an aging female poet-and the nature of poetry from the inside out. In "Owl and Pussycat, Some Years Later," a blend of dramatic monolog and parody, for example, she makes those nursery-rhyme figures not just people, but poets. As the titular characters muse regretfully on their shared past, they wonder whether their talent is any better "than the ability to win the sausage-eating contest, or juggle six plates at once." Their tone suggests the dichotomy of whimsy and dark irony that suffuses the book, one complementing the other. A richly layered collection; highly recommended for all libraries.