The 1986 Western States Book Award winner arrives amid praise from Carolyn Kizer, James Merrill, and Amy Clampitt. One wonders what ``balance'' the jurists saw between ``the didactic and the lyrical'' in this ``essay in verse.'' The didacticism is evident; the lyricism is not. Barnard asks, ``Why/ should we cease to make myths?'' and then presents a hodgepodge of mythological and astronomical data with 17 pages of notes advising ``puzzled readers'' to ``consult any handbook of astronomy for clarification.'' Little in her pedantic pronouncements supports the debatable assumption that we have ceased making myths, and her flat, tendentious language cannot bring these poems to life. A better choice for most libraries is Barnard's Collected Poems (Breitenbush, 1979). Leonard Kniffel, Detroit P.L.