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This ninth collection of poetry finds Lauterbach doing what she does best, anchoring her roving eye and associative thinking among the banalities and raptures of a mature urban life. If her banalities, often comically deployed, are sometimes merely that ("There are new blinds on the windows across the way"), her raptures, often in the form of physical description, can truly exhilarate and sound like no one else's: "as the sun sets, tiny distinctions appear among luminosities, sky, river, car, white fence, yellow lights of passing cars, pale stone of the graves." Less rhapsodic than usual, Lauterbach may apologize for "not making meaning," but when she does make it, she reveals a gift for impeccably phrased insight: "one falls in love/ with the condition of hope// and falls out of love with its/ cruel replacement, hope...." Highlights of the book include its title poem, a breathtaking, understated 14-part elegy, and the centerpiece, "Alice in the Wasteland," a playful semiotic dialogue that finds Carroll's Alice interrogated by an impersonal "Voice" as she wanders through Eliot's labyrinth of dysfunction. Intelligent but no less deeply feeling, this collection confirms Lauterbach's position as one of the most highly principled and tirelessly innovative poets writing today. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.