Radioactive Starlings

Princeton Univ. Nov. 2017. 112p. ISBN 9780691177090. $45; pap. ISBN 9780691177106. $17.95; ebk. ISBN 9781400888764. POETRY
In poems rich, erudite, and almost tactilely rendered, multi-award-winning poet Hardy (Approaching the Center) defines his role as witness to our journey through an often troubled world ("a vibrating throat blue throat bluer than the seas"). He plunges us through the refugee crisis ("Graves as the sea waves foam at night") and environmental depredation ("Starlings as glass black sharp// an abrupt end to the grace// they have given," from the title poem) while placing us in a vibrant, mostly North African environment. Music reverberates throughout; in Tunisia, "musicians/ pluck the audience to trance," and Muddy Waters appears in Bethlehem.
VERDICT Attentive reading required, but a feast for the senses sophisticated readers will enjoy.

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