cover image Incredible Good Fortune

Incredible Good Fortune

Ursula K. Le Guin, . . Shambhala, $18 (96pp) ISBN 978-1-59030-314-6

One of the world's most honored authors of science fiction (The Left Hand of Darkness , etc.) and young adult fantasy (the Earthsea trilogy), Le Guin has also maintained a serious, if less often recognized, career as a poet. This sixth gathering of poems comprises compact and often songlike work, adroit in both Western (rhyming quatrains; couplets) and non-Western (meditation and praise song) modes. Much of Le Guin's work takes cues from landscape, especially that of the Pacific Northwest, where she lives; a set of stanzaic poems about a Caribbean cruise brings out both attractive descriptions and political ironies. Le Guin also considers advancing age: a few poems address her 70th birthday, and many others consider the regrets and resolution. Le Guin's young adult fiction draws on folktale and myth, and her poetry takes advantage of similar sources, from the Philomela story to Red Riding Hood; her most admired science fiction has political overtones, and she ventures into politics here with epigrams and strong stanzas against the Iraq war. (Mar. 14)