The central poem in Wendy Saloman's new collection, and from which it takes its title, is the narrative of a woman's journey through various crises in Jewish history, from biblical times to modern Israel and Palestine. The protagonist, Rachel, is 'moving through time/as fire over water/as ash on ice'. 'Rivers and Revenants', the other main poem in the book, is again concerned with roots only this time the voyage is of a more personal nature: the author draws upon her own experiences of a visit to Lithuania in order to discover her grandfather's farmstead. In both these poems, and elsewhere in her work, there is conveyed the ever present drama between otherness and unity. Chrysalis in the Desert is Saloman's first book since Syllables and Leaves (Salzburg, 1997) and, although different in theme, it continues to fuse history and nature and to hold, as Mandelstam put it, 'the contradictions in one hand'. What informs the whole of her work is a belief that silence is the state from which all art must rise, and it is only from there that one may obtain a true hearing of the world and listen for, and learn from, the voices of the dead.