cover image This Blue

This Blue

Maureen N. McLane. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24 (112p) ISBN 978-0-374-27593-8

Beginning in a garden with “a chair,/ a table, grass,” and ending in the “wild way” of the woods, McLane’s latest poetry collection (after World Enough) is a progressive push into the unknown. Her consistency of voice, an amalgam of neoformal rhyme and contemporary bravado, serves as an anchor throughout the book’s five sections, each of which explores a new setting and subject pairing. These spare, slender poems guide us through the domestic garden landscape where “it’s all good/ today’s assent/ and tomorrow’s” to the rocky terrain of mid-life, where “It’s still in my head/ those things I did/ and said and cared for// doing but it’s all gone/ white like green hills/ in certain light.” McLane’s mixture of the high and low can also be found is also evident when she exclaims, “O brave New World/ your fruits have gone incognito!/ A rosé’s a rosé’s a rosé.” In the latter third of the collection McLane briefly tackles the technologies that have become a part of our cultural evolution, lamenting “the sludge/ the open connection/ will carry,” but coming to terms with how “I was nostalgic/ until I got over it.” Still, in the final section, poems like “Horoscope” and “Skywatch” look heavenward for answers, and find them “unrelieved/ except tonight/ by this light.” (Apr.)