cover image Small Poems Again

Small Poems Again

Valerie Worth. Farrar Straus Giroux, $11 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-374-37074-9

In her fourth volume of small poems, Worth presents us with 25 polished gems that reflect the world in all its particularities. Both the lyrics and Babbitt's black-and-white drawings are understated but astonishingly vivid. The poet focuses on homely thingscoat hangers, fleas, a starfish, a dandelionand makes us see what we carelessly miss. The tiger has ""swallowed/ A black sun'' and ``carries it still:/ Black flames/ Flicker through/ His fur.'' A skunk walks by, ``half vapor, half/ Shade, diffusing/ The night's uncanny/ Essence and atmosphere.'' The mantis bows ``such lean and monklike/ Shoulders'' and the poet asks if he is ``Wholly/ Holy Pretending/ To pray/ While intending/ To prey.'' Each image of these spare poems startles, and each verse reveals the sensibilities in a poet who respects her audience. (All ages)