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“Behold the door / the lock’s alive,” warns Stan Rice in one of the commanding poems that make up this new volume of verse. From the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras to the private chambers of the imagination, Rice’s work is at times sharp and minimalist and at times over the top in its vivid critique of life and in its regard for the sanctity that lurks in all experience.
In these concise, memorable verses, he contemplates the stroller-pushing crowd in the American mall; he maps the complex traffic of a marriage; he speaks to the cat bristling in the closet: “—for you, / For your on-tiptoe hissing / Slit-pupiled arched-backed tail- / Stiffened terror, this song.” Throughout, Rice sings of the darkness that conflicts us and of the moments of pure consciousness that allow us to transcend darkness.