cover image Crossing to Sunlight

Crossing to Sunlight

Paul Zimmer, Author University of Georgia Press $18.95 (166p) ISBN 978-0-8203-1829-5

In this gathering of 100 poems, 21 new and the rest drawn from some previously published volumes, Zimmer, director of the University of Iowa Press, displays a talent for gentle humor, thoughtful observation and melancholy reminiscence. A representative Zimmer poem concerns a moment of metaphoric insight recalled at leisure and presented in accessible, yet cultured language. The poem ""Grouse"" tells of a rural neighbor and his gift of a dead bird. The bird, when taken apart as recommended, provides ""A ball of delicate meat the size/ Of a small, green apple."" This powerful concrete image is somewhat atypical for Zimmer, who elsewhere writes of a place ""...so pure/ It becomes tainted even/ By your regard."" The poems range from parody to bittersweet love poems to several ironic and self-effacing poems in which Zimmer himself features as a character. One of these, ""Zimmer Loathing the Gentry,"" ends with the observation that the gentry ""sign their names and something happens./ While, Zimmer, I can write, Zimmer,/ All day, and nothing happens."" Readers, happily, are likely to disagree. (July)