This collection is not nearly as ambitious as its title suggests. These poems are well-crafted – sometimes they come across as wisps of poems – but that signal would always turn me back for a second, far richer reading, of the poem. The poems are sometimes about language, as in “To an Old Friend in Paris” –
The poem opening like an ear pressed
Against the cold clicking door of a safe.
Day comes to dark caves but darkness remains.
And the only way then to know a truth
Is to squint in its direction and poke.
Or in “Never Again Would Birds’ Song be the Same” –
We’d slept like the lines of a villanelle:
Apart, together, woven into one.
“The Menace,” though, is probably my favorite –
This Anisfield-Wolf award winner (http://www.anisfield-wolf.org/2016/04/meet-our-2016-winners/) has created a book to be treasured.