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Rose McLarney. Penguin Books, $20 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-0143137-52-8

In this life-affirming and refreshing fourth collection, McLarney (Forage) finds beauty in simplicity and experience. These long-lined narrative poems are skillfully rendered, steeped in the southern Appalachia of her foremothers’ kitchens and landscapes. McLarney’s voice is direct and companionable as she traces how the past, which melts away into history and heritage, lives on in the solar plexus of memory. Her poems about a cat rival Christopher Smart’s depiction of Geoffrey in “Jubilate Agno,” capturing the animal’s grace and mystery: “of all the litters ever bred./ And couldn’t the stripes/ of all the tabbies, untwined, turn out to be a single string?” Elsewhere, she considers creation through the stories of Adam and Noah while examining her husband’s ribs: “if he was called keel-chested, at least he might be a boat./ Yes, let him be an ark where a creature can shelter, stay.” Heaven resembles “an empty homestead, set way back from any road,” where the speaker prefers to be. These excellent poems are a testament to finding wonder in the world’s simple truths. (Mar.)