cover image I Love This Dark World

I Love This Dark World

Alice B. Fogel. Zoland Books, $11.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-944072-64-6

This volume begins auspiciously, with a steadfast gaze at the natural world as intense and perfectly rendered as that of Rilke's famous panther. Fogel understands waiting, whether for fruit to ripen or for Michelangelo's unfinished sculptures to fulfill their potential. She was, as she confesses in a later poem, a child who wanted ""to be kind, to love the world"" the same way in which she ""wanted to be loved."" Too infrequently, however, does Fogel acknowledge the adult awareness that humans and nature are not identical. The more populated her landscapes become, the closer she veers toward cliche (""winds of loss"" and ""evil of despair"") and animals are burdened with human emotion, as a newborn lamb, runt of a triplet birth, is addressed: ""Your anger keeps you alive."" When Fogel holds to the marvelous specificities of the opening poems, rather than abstractly considering themes of love, loss and destiny, her poems demonstrate a fierce and admirable passion. (May)