From Publishers Weekly
This careful, reader-friendly fourth outing from Funkhouser (The Actual World) makes stark and honest, if unadventurous, lyric from birds, plants, suburbs and paintings, then turns its attention to well-told stories in verse. Funkhouser works to capture loves and losses in poems like "When She Lies Down at Night" ("She tries to let the loneliness be another body"), but she finds more congenial subjects in the mammals and game fowl that wander across her territory: "If you must possess something," she says of a woodcock, "own it as she does her scrubby acre." The clipped lines of "Collecting Hair" show how and why men's cut hair keeps deer from nibbling trees. Funkhouser's "plain New England field," as she observes it, ought to please devotees of Mary Oliver or Elizabeth Spires, as will the handful of poems set in Renaissance Holland. It's toward the end of the volume, however, that Funkhouser (who teaches at MIT) escapes her various models. The verse-essay "The Seven Friendships" makes up for a lack of formal interest with wisdom about what holds people together. "Casualty," a five-page short story in verse, remembers how a friend's troubled brother was found dead in Seattle: "`He disappeared now and then, but who doesn't?'" Funkhouser's craft and decorum will allow readers to see clear, sensitive characters.
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"This new collection confirms the talent of a rare, probing poet." --John Taylor, POETRY