From Publishers Weekly
The title's Latin translates as "traveler, halt," a traditional opening for inscriptions on gravestones; Manguso's enticing sophomore effort has both the gravity of epitaphs and enough oddity to halt readers in their tracks. Clearer and grimmer than her debut, The Captain Lands in Paradise
, this book often uses aphoristic sentences in place of lines: "A good horse runs even at the shadow of the whip"; "The second-hardest thing I have to do is not be longing's slave." Dating and flirtation, astronomical discoveries, the omnipresence of death, unanswerable queries ("Which stories of farms are the ones that can save me?")—all move within the speaker's mind in a manner that the poems are designed to arrest. "A coin you dropped when you took your pants off is still on the floor," she declares in "Address to an Absent Lover." "Please come back and pick it up." That lover might be the reader or simply a romantic partner, or God: the essence and power of Manguso's method lie in our not knowing which is which. (Mar.)
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About the Author
SARAH MANGUSO is the author of The Captain Lands in Paradise (2002). With Jordan Davis she coedited the anthology Free Radicals: American Poets Before Their First Books (2004). She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches at the Pratt Institute. Her poems and prose have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Believer, Boston Review, The London Review of Books, McSweeney's, the New Republic, The Paris Review, and three editions of The Best American Poetry series.