“Words, We Ask the World of You”: Listening to Vanished Voices

To the Wren: Collected and New Poems by Jane Mead (Alice James Books, 586pp., $29.95)

More Here Than Light: New & Selected Poems by A.V. Christie (Ashland University Press, 122pp., $15.95)

Character Shoes by Kate Light (Able Muse Press, 86pp., $18.95)

God of the Kitchen by Jon Tribble (Glass Lyre Press, 88pp., $16.00)

Letters Written and Not Sent by William Louis-Dreyfus (Red Hen Press, 72pp., $16.95)

Wendy Battin: On the Life and Work of an American Master edited by Charles Hartman, Pamela Alexander, Martha Collins, and Matthew Krajniak (Pleiades Press/Gulf Coast/Copper Nickel, 230pp., $16.00)

Perennials on Fire: Ekphrastic Transformations in Adam Vines’ Out of Speech

Out of Speech
by Adam Vines
(Louisiana State University Press, 78pp., $17.95)

Out of Speech, Adam Vines’ inventive second book, consists of ekphrastic poems inspired by some of the past century’s most compelling works of art. Over several years, the author traveled to art museums in the U.S. and abroad for a firsthand look at the works he admired (see “Changing Perspective: Art’s Influence on Adam Vines’ Poetry” at the LSU Press website), and as a result, the poems in his new book reflect a palpable authenticity. (Unlike the author, I’ve settled for JPEGs and art books as I write this review from Baltimore.) The artists that Vines selects for attention—Picasso, Magritte, Rothko, Wyeth, Hopper, and more—stand squarely at the center of the canon. Although I might have initially hoped to encounter painters less frequently invoked, Vines’ taste is excellent, and the poems show enough ambition and variety to justify his choices.

Miraculous Spirals

Spira Mirabilis, the logarithmic or “miraculous” spiral that widens
with every curve yet maintains its shape, is observed in astronomy,
biology, meteorology, coastal erosion, etc.

Upon a beach & under galaxies
…………….revolving, filled with stars,
……..coiled on itself, a nautilus
……..whose spiral is “miraculous”
lies tiger-striped, sea-scoured, its sacristies

more proof of nature’s winding symmetries.
…………….A wave confronts the shore’s
……..unraveling resolve, the loss
……..of coastal sand disastrous,
the crescent of its carving, by degrees,

a slow retreat…Unleashed, a storm gives rise
…………….to more than just brute force
……..shaped like a wheel, calamitous: