From Publishers Weekly
Isles's second collection is marked by a gentler, more lilting musicality than his taut, muscular debut, Ark. These new poems show him more inclined to stroll, drifting from one site or insight to the next, like a Bay Area Flâneur: To succumb to the fleshly stream of the crowd/ trafficking in the equivocal light of this sea-girt place. To keep oneself a stranger and a pilgrim. An apartness—part scientific distance, part cloudy-headedness—characterizes much of the book: This life is a mist, a cloud in the making. Readers may conclude the world's lightness isn't what keeps Isles's speaker withdrawn so much as a sense of powerlessness in the face of its destruction. Of particular concern is the sacrifice of the natural world to the absolute crap people buy and how we cope with the loss by ignoring it: Redundancy sparkles in the marketplace/ And we in purest indifference look miles deep/ Pinkish flowers and ants we stepped on along the way/ The tiny lights—. If Isles's outlook is sometimes more enervated than activated this time out, a number of take-charge poems like Evangelical Economics prove that he is a dazzling and incisive lyricist of cultural critique. (Sept.)
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“The poems of Inverse Sky transpire in a magic climate conducive to old Edens and new evangels. Here are wantonness and water-lights written starkly. And here, too, are tender shades I have not met before, in a further America.”—Donald Revell, author, A Thief of Strings
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