In this accomplished first collection, Erica McAlpine draws truths from the everyday, meditating over contingency and luck and the often-vexed relationship we have to these things. The casual register of her verse belies its formal complexity. Many of the poems are crafted in tight syntactical units of just one or two sentences; others are composed in rhyming sapphics, a meter favoured by the poet Horace, whose guiding voice recurs throughout the collection. Humorous and serious in turn, these quietly virtuosic poems achieve lofty aims: to teach, to advise, to warn—to show, in the manner of a close friend, what the world has to offer, what it sometimes takes away, and what can and should matter most.
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