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Louise Glück's sixth pick as judge of the prestigious Yale Series of Younger Poets competition is a debut both whimsical and dark. In limpid free verse lines that slink down the page, Collins introduces a speaker with little confidence in the self or the world at large, prone to questions like, "Can I guess what I am thinking?" Collins's poems seek an almost religious sense of meaning in a world too cynical for faith: "God? you say, but not aloud. Since/ there is no god, you have to be/ both you and god. Yes, god says." When the poems rely on overly flat or jokey surrealism-"He slaughtered a bear/ for a meat roast party"-it's hard not to wonder why the poems won't admit to how seriously they take themselves and their subjects. Yet, at their best, these poems-set in places as understated as "a zoo/ full of animals" or a "Heaven" that "is a white Formica table"-are driven by a real, if vague, fear that will likely be a familiar poetic pose to readers who came of age in the last two decades, and which is really the old existential terror that the self can't really be known and that the terms of life are always shifting. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.