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Publishers WeeklyQuietly serious, trustworthy and often sad, this sixth collection from Spires (Worldling) finds the poet preoccupied with first and last things: death, illness, age and debility take up much of the book, while ascetic religion, in the lives of monks and nuns, occupies more hopeful poems near the volume's end. Though only 58 years old, Spires looks back on her life as if from near its conclusion: "Like an idiot child, I piled my pretty stones,/ knowing the waves would knock them down." One of her best new poems considers the video game "The Sims," where "Adults never get older & old people can do/ anything young people can do." Again and again Spires depicts the flimsiness of all human life-defining "house," for example, as "a leaf over my head." Some will object, understandably, that Spires' new poems lack intellectual rigor-but they might well make up for that lack in their moving frailty, even giving us (as Spires sometimes implies) models for the later chapters in our own lives.
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