cover image Day's Work

Day's Work

David Lee. Copper Canyon Press, $10 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-55659-027-6

These homogenous poems explore rural life from the vantage point of an erudite observer. Although the narrator embraces an existence similar to that of his neighbors, the central tension of this volume springs from his sense of what separates him from those around him. Most poems detail an interaction with a ``local'' and the illumination afforded by his perspective--pragmatic and straightforward, unencumbered by academic analysis. Yet Lee ( The Porcine Canticles ) does not condescend; rather the speaker is offered solid comfort by his friends' unswerving ability to face pain and to persevere. His evocative use of dialect preserves both the tragic and the humorous--``Fence Repair,'' for example, comments on a preacher who declaims ``how all people is good'' until ``he runok out of words after about a year / we had to elect him to office to give him something to do. / First thing he voted no taxes / and no pay raises to schoolteachers / so they all knownok he'd be a good one / mebbe governor some ok day.'' (Feb.)