Visionary perception draws Sarah Lantz’s readers into a vibrant world reflecting the border between divine perfection and human frailty. Section I compares the “…rain on the sea— / the horizon’s gone missing,” to the loneliness, storminess, and false worship of a child who so desires union with anyone or anything. Section II is notable for Lantz’s sensual descriptions, sparkling literary images, and evocative language. Contemplating “The Moon’s Migrations,” the poet describes the moon’s other side, “…for unlike the moon’s other half / this side had no face / but the thin skin of tenderness / and a wind to blow willowy and dark.” In “Adam Is Warned,” the reader is forced to face the temptation anew, “…Remember how the apple fit once / in your sun-drenched hand, / then surrender to its pleasure, taste its reddened fruit again.” Sex is fulfilling tantalizing urges for union in natural response to creation’s fertile, provocative appearance. In “Gethsemane and Eden,” Mary and Eve respectively share “…history unconcerned that the distinction between criminals and heroes / is frequently only fashion.” Nazi and present politics speak murder only to those affected. Lantz skillfully shapes mourning, questioning, and responding cadences in this notable, beautifully crafted collection.
Deborah Schoeneman, is a former English teacher/Writing Across the Curriculum Center Coordinator at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and coeditor of Modern American Literature: A Library of Literary Criticism, Vol. VI, published in 1997.