Sarah Arvio, Author . Knopf $23 (85p) ISBN 978-0-307-26323-0

Arvio's sophomore follow-up to Visits from the Seventh (2002), reckons with the "Interior Ostracism" fostered by a life's disappointments and regrets—almost all relationship-based. Often set against belittling examples of Roman grandeur (portrayed in titles like "Colosseum," "Sistine" and "Pantheon"), many poems begin with self-deprecating observations ("I was trammeled, I thought, by tragedy"), grim questions ("So, was there something grand in all this grief ") or wavering assertions ("I was saying I never had a care,/ meaning maybe that I was free of care,/ or else meaning that no one cared for me"). Most then proceed through clever vacillations ("I was a sister or I was a saint,/ maybe a gilded statue of Venus,/ sporting a halo or wearing a hat") and stunning sonic associations ("the prison or prism of myself") to arrive at painful confessions: "Oh boy, boy, I know I broke your heart/ with my broken song, I know I was wrong." While repetition of strategies and subjects throughout these 43 poems—composed of nine or 10 strict tercets each—eventually dulls some of the book's punch, Arvio has crafted a humorous, unflinching arrow of self-assertion via self-revelation: Sono means "I am" in Italian. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/05/2005
Release date: 01/01/2006
Paperback - 83 pages - 978-0-375-71136-7
Open Ebook - 59 pages - 978-0-307-49796-3
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