cover image Lion’s Paw

Lion’s Paw

Kathleen Peirce. Miami Univ, $20 trade paper (78p) ISBN 978-1-881163-68-8

In this gratifyingly dense and philosophically ambitious sixth collection, Peirce (Vault) considers the relationship between perception and the lyric imagination. “When from the wet point on a spiral,/ dreams approach, most nights increase themselves/ like wings, like a tumbler of perfume in flames,” Peirce muses in language as lyrical as it is rife with dramatic tension. One of her many poetic gifts is her ability to offer a sense of urgency while depicting inner experience: “The viewer disregards the view,/ looks neither at the window nor through, but forward/ across the table where the right hand draws a face in profile, whose?, and the left/ is a weight on the sheet.” The syntax and juxtaposition of Peirce’s lines reveal the complexities of self-reflection, and the inexact, self-doubting nature of thought. Elsewhere, she remarks, “Some things are prettier than the day, and some/ will force lightheadedness onto thinking about them.” This is an impressive addition to Peirce’s distinguished body of work. (Feb.)