Carol Frost, Author . Northwestern Univ. $14.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-8101-5139-0

In the first volume since her new and selected Love and Scorn (2000), Frost offers a series of ethereal musings on beauty, ardor, summer and the natural world. Set mainly in the Cedar Keys of Florida, the poems include descriptions of snakes and spiders, raccoons, blowfish, oysters, sea anemone and sea gulls, among many other animals. A characteristically romantic passage (in "Ardors") lingers on "nightbirds with a little lump/ of insect under their tongues, breath// of clover, grassy, spiced...." Although there are occasional references to predation and violence here, as in "I've seen their [the eagles'] curved beaks/ tear fishes from the ospreys' grasp," the poems generally remake nature into a colorful dreamscape, suffused with longing and weather. Frost's speakers often introduce the natural world in precious, childlike terms: "the tortoise walks on tiptoe in June" or "Some people like fox or coon urine,/ but you really prefer doe pee." While cuteness is a distraction throughout the book, it is particularly perilous when speakers attempt to address nature directly: "Stop that racket, less flapping; and diminuendo,/ please." The book is divided into 11 sections, each with three or four poems. All but the first poem are right-justified—a seemingly arbitrary choice. The title affirmation ends up overwhelming the book's subject, and one is left with a sense of a missed opportunity to dig deeper, either formally or thematically, in so vast and threatened a landscape. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
Hardcover - 96 pages - 978-0-8101-5138-3
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!