An impressive first collection by a poet who has appeared in all the ``right '' places, from Paris Review to Grand Street , written, accordingly, with a high verbal gift and the current disappointing preference for description over human content. Some poems, like the lengthy ``Stairwell,'' can be tediously abstract, but many are wonderful. In ``The Paperweight,'' the poet assumes the persona of a paperweight watched by a human being: ``For I compromise the stillness/ she wants to break, getting out of/ her heavy head the storm she loves to make.'' In the lovely ``Night Coach'' the poet finds an instant of comfort among people who will leave the train for a world that cannot be bothered to answer their vain cries for freedom; here form and content match beautifully. A poet to watch, and recommended. Bettina Drew, City Coll., CUNY
Phillis Levin is the author of three other collections of poems: The Afterimage, Mercury, and May Day. She is the editor of The Penguin Book of the Sonnet. Her many honors include the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award (for Temples and Fields), a Fulbright Fellowship to Slovenia, the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She lives in New York, is a professor of English and poet-in-residence at Hofstra University, and also teaches in the graduate creative writing program at New York University.