All the Lavish in Common

Allan Peterson, Author . Univ. of Massachusetts $14.95 (74p) ISBN 978-1-55849-526-5

From out of left field, or rather north Florida, comes a smart and mature second collection. Peterson's sinuous lines and careful sentences imagine the perspective of dogs, "The Need to Explain," "The Appeal of Antiques" and the melancholy fascinations of everyday life: "the calf in the pasture/ that became a flowered purse." Peterson (Anonymous Or , 2002) tracks the vicissitudes, oddities and noteworthy tangents of a contemporary household with originality: he cares not just for how things look or for how we feel, but for the ways in which our habits make us make mistakes about ourselves and about the people with whom we share our lives. A southern landscape and a midwestern childhood inform the poems; so does an interest in middle age. Yet biography lies far under the crenellated surfaces of these poems, which gradually bring their topics into view, as readers learn to piece together Peterson's similes, cognitive leaps, odd ideas: "Duration is like blood to time, the river in which it swims." "Often as moss I stare at my hands in amazement," the poet confesses, "at the what I'm made of"; readers who seek challenge might be amazed, too. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/01/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
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