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When, in the first parts of this eighth collection, Greger (Western Art) translates and imitates Horace, the careful, deceptively conversational urbanity comes over completely into her wry and disillusioned stanzas. Greger excels not only when she writes about such perennial topics as political fear or resentment in love, but also when she addresses her "subtropical students" in Gainesville where she teaches, and when she writes a verse-letter to Jane Austen from modern-day Bath: "have you slipped in/ to the costume museums, where no one ever goes?" Greger rarely rejoices, though she can surely console; her pruned-back, autumnal sensibility and her balanced lines suit the scenes she portrays. When she turns to her own biography, though, or to her travels in France and the Netherlands, she can veer from the classics, landing too close to her American models, Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, though Greger's eye is colder, her preferred tones bitterer. This might be Greger's best book. It might also be her most restrained-a restraint that suggests both a choice and a character trait: we know her best when she writes most about the lives of others, least about her own. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.