cover image Satin Cash

Satin Cash

Lisa Russ Spaar, . . Persea, $14 (72pp) ISBN 978-0-89255-343-3

Emily Dickinson's phrase “I pay—in Satin Cash/ You did not state—your price—” serves as both epigraph and title source for Spaar's third book, though Spaar also includes poems inspired by Gerard Manley Hopkins, John Donne, Hart Crane and Robert Frost, a combination that captures the collection's fervent compressions, devotions and raptures. The natural world in these poems is sensual and seductive, as in “Vineyard in Spring,” in which she writes: “The world is prevalent, strained/ with the old work of beginning again,// smalt, sexual, congested with blossom.” Birds flock throughout as apparitions and manifestations, paramours and confessors—mourning doves moan, a trapped wren chirs, cardinals shuttle in the hedge. In an address to the wood thrush, Spaar writes: “Blackamoor of hedges, achromatic:/ teach me your harmonics,// daedal, damson: ghosts/ of two notes, one throat.” Spaar (Blue Venus ) has created an entrancing world of lush language and passionate imaginings, where a womb is a “chivalric piñata,/ quixotic hourglass,” and a turtle appears “emerging from its stone/ velvet, vulnerable,” poems as beautiful and fragile as the creatures and gardens they contain. (Aug.)