Spring Hiatus

This house with the small backyard here it is I drowse. The wind strews
blossoms from the crabapple boughs; they catch in in the grass, in the vines,
like snow. In front, a tree, riotous and pink, fills
the narrow window I clap my eyes on. A garden,
alongside a street.
I am teaching nothing. When I wake,
the day lies before me as water to wash in. My children keep close to my body;
shade passes by. I have lost the sense of my century I am
a child myself I love my boundaries, dripping with green.
Why is my neighbor in exile here? A grasping that held me is gone.

The Beatitudes of Rowan

By Rowan Ricardo Phillips
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 61 pp., $13.00)

Rowan Ricardo Phillips is quickly making a name for himself, and for good reason. His second full collection of poems, Heaven, following in the footsteps of several successful verse essays, is something of an experiment. In it, Phillips rejects anti-poetics and opts for the landscape of high art (The Odyssey, the night sky, music, the ocean, Hamlet, a mountain peak), overtly engaging such canonical poets and theorists as Wallace Stevens, Derek Walcott, and Robert Frost (not to mention Homer, Dante, and Shakespeare). The volume offers a worldlywise and humorous—yet nonetheless honestly contemplative—perspective on what poetic bliss might mean for a readership of spiritual and intellectual cynics.