Atlas: Poems by Katrina Vandenberg
Blank verse poems about history, culture, and language. Like a literal road atlas, the poems carry lines and themes from one to the next. Like Atlas holding up the world, they hold patterns of all kinds aloft with an attention that transforms. The poems also are an atlas of the known world, capturing the way events repeat across time and place, as in one poem that links the image of her sister, pausing in her work as housekeeper, with the contours of a maid in a Vermeer painting and a woman just "made over" on that day's episode of Oprah. Vandenberg's poems use family artifacts, memory, and imagination to plot the intersections of love, death, history, art, and desire. In the first section, "Trade Routes," about connections, each poem moves back one generation to investigate the ways events reverberate across time. The second section, "The Red Fields of Lisse (A Love Story)," focuses on a former partner, a hemophiliac with AIDS, and tulips. The third section, "Catalog of Want," contains poems about desire in various guises. The last section, "A Place Ten Years Away," reexamines the themes of the first three sections.