cover image Firekeeper (Trade)

Firekeeper (Trade)

Pattiann Rogers. Milkweed Editions, $13.95 (260pp) ISBN 978-1-57131-400-0

It will be almost impossible for a reader to calmly meander through Rogers's (Geocentric) new collection of poems; they strong-arm us with poetic gymnastics, blending scientific theory with luscious poetic rhythms. While displaying her perpetually curious intelligence at play, Rogers shows her virtuosity-to marvelous effect-in exploring sensory perception. She sports with literal constructs; scoffs at the tolerant dead, ``oblivious to abuse''; composes a manual for walking on water; and juxtaposes unlikely creatures (e.g., a whale and a sea of iris). As she notes, ``By this juxtaposition we can know/ That someone exceptional, in a moment of abandon,/ Pressing fresh iris to his face in the dark,/ Has taken the whale completely into his heart.'' One can fault Rogers's poems only for being too constantly exuberant, fanciful and joyous; the keynote of New Age bucolic rarely falters. The book offers an extraordinary reading experience as she celebrates pure being: ``Can't you see?/ You, riding along with all its passengers,/ standing up, laughing now, waving/ your hat, hallooing and hallooing?'' (Sept.)