Jane McLaughlin's meticulously observed and linguistically adept poems brim with fresh imagery and moments of surprise. She has a gift for taking the quotidian and seeing below the surface of the instant so that new connections are made, chains of small epiphanies that make this collection as humane as it is accomplished. From sustained sequences to tight lyric pieces, the pressure on language and the attention to detail gives this collection an enviable poise.
He pushed her piano out into the snow,
shouldered its rumbling bulk over the step.
Lurching, it rang a mad arpeggio.
The keyboard, silent since the day she left
rattled its teeth. Fortissimo
the blizzard thumped its panels till they bent.
Winter rain lifted the veneer, soaked the wood
to mouldering green. Slugs chewed up the felt.
A rat nested in the wires, started a brood.
Still he could not stop the ostinato
of loss and music sounding in his head.
The piano haunted him, unburied bones.
As Spring came, woodwind squalls blew through
the rotting carcass, playing Aeolian tunes.
'A mature artist who knows what she wants to say; there are flashes of brilliance everywhere. A striking and vivid collection'