cover image Adventures in the Lost Interiors of America

Adventures in the Lost Interiors of America

William D. Waltz. Cleveland Univ, $15.96 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-0-9860257-1-6

Early in his second collection, Waltz wonders, “that sound haunting /my insomnia, is it you /or your god’s didgeridoo /calling the wild things /home?” Elusive though it may be, this question serves as a spindle around which Waltz’s poems are spun and entwined, as he ultimately finds himself in conversation with two distinct wildernesses—the one he explores and reveres in the natural world, and the one that pushes his imagination toward its whims and vagaries. “The woods walked through us and left a trail,” he writes in “Birds, Still,” and his willingness to follow this unnamed, meandering path (without feeling the terror of having to name it) is one of Waltz’s most alluring poses as a poet. He’s “sorry if the word periwinkle makes you uncomfortable,” but true to the nature of the soothsayer he plays throughout these poems, he wants to assert that “it’s only a word and we mustn’t be afraid of what we know.” But beyond the privilege of a listless and unsettled mind, which doesn’t “know why/ anyone is anyone,” and which Waltz, to his credit, does call into question a handful of times, one occasionally feels that Waltz is perhaps too comfortable in his wilderness, too settled in his tone. Nevertheless, even when he’s standing in hell at the end of his book, where there’s only “one/ season,” Waltz does manage to reassure us that “it’s never /too soon to wear white slacks.” (May)