cover image Some Say: Poems

Some Say: Poems

Maureen N. McLane. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24 (144p) ISBN 978-0-374-26658-5

Simultaneously exhausted by the conventions of nature poetry and energized by nature’s mutability, McLane (Mz N: The Serial) adopts a stance in her latest collection that could seem pessimistic were it not for her desire to keep moving. Several poems take on the subject of the sun, that perennial poetic inspiration. “It’s not cool/ to be enthusiastic” about the sun, McLane writes, but quickly sheds any anxiety about that coolness: “Let’s go to the morning/ and watch the sun smudge// every bankrupt idea/ of nature.” Her speaker often laments not experiencing nature-induced sublimity. “OK you heard the coyotes/ and I didn’t,” she writes, “You can hear/ the highway even here.” As human influence pervades all but the most remote wilds, forms of technology are “canceling all the noise/ my earthened ears bring me.” An obsession with the passage of time, and the inevitability of the individual ending, also threads through the collection. Airplanes, for instance, are “Metal wombs/ for earthly angels” that carry within them “the future dead.” There’s conspiratorial humor, too: “Talking to birches/ I am an idiot// & I know you get it/ reader.” McLane seeks after truth, but not one single version of it. “Why should I feel bad/ about beauty?” McLane asks—these poems definitely do not. (July)