cover image The Boy in the Well: And Other Poems

The Boy in the Well: And Other Poems

Daniel Mark Epstein. Overlook Press, $13.95 (72pp) ISBN 978-0-87951-597-3

Epstein (Young Men's Gold) has two focusses in this short collection that tend to obstruct rather than enhance each other. There are domestic poems that deal with family members, children, a professor, a student. These are proficient, but, like the boy of the title poem, seem lost in the larger context of their surroundings. Limiting their light are higher-browed pieces that deal in ancient mythologies and interpretations of objets d'art, e.g., Vivaldi's ``Four Seasons'' and the paintings of Chagall. These poems do not reinvent the original works so much as invite the reader to revisit them. The best treat in this poet's bag is his keen sense of word placement. Besides a nicely honed and haunting sestina that could trigger any son's angst (``The Inheritance''), there are several sestina variations where repetition of key words or ideas click in the heart, providing the sensation of an epiphany without the actual experience. (July)