cover image Splitting and Binding

Splitting and Binding

Pattiann Rogers, Author Wesleyan University Press $14.95 (61p) ISBN 978-0-8195-1173-7

With her fourth collection, Rogers ( The Tattooed Lady in the Garden ) proves capable of producing some of the most spiritual poetry being written in America. While her main focus is nature, nature teaches God's lesson to ``man.'' A blossoming iris imitates man at prayer; the deaf and blind beggar ``understands, by his own body, the soaring / Of the sun-split leap of salmon after salmon / Through loop after loop of cascading current''; a wren caught in a cathedral ``attempts to match / Her spread wings, her attitude, to that of the shining / Dove caught there in poised flight above the Ark.'' These and other poems unveil images wrought after close inspection of an object just beginning to transform. Rogers endeavors to render her subjects concrete and vivid to the reader. At times she reaches beyond the plausible, as in ``Knot,'' where stars ``squeeze into the dark / bone of my breast, take their perfectly / secured stitches up and down, pull.'' Humans, as they enter Rogers's universe, become as innocent as animals, and the poems assert a jolting sensuality. (Sept.)