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Philip Lopate once wrote that his prose style drifted in and out of beauty. In this new collection of essays, one is grateful for those adroit meanderings; Lopate never allowing us to forget that fine prose comes in many colors. Thus, The Portrait Inside My Head contains pieces both unpretentiously personal and reflectively critical. Nevertheless, Lopate never quite convince us that he is, as he insists, truly cynical; his deep, humane interest in the world around belies that claim, for which readers can be truly grateful.