Although Norman Dubie is still in his early thirties, he has been discussed for several years as one of our most younger poets. His distinctive form has been the historical narrative, in which a figure from literature or history either speaks or is spoken to by an anonymous narrator. The voice in the poems, however, whether Proust's or Breughel's or an unknown Russian peasant's, is always that of Norman Dubie -- the same highly visual, even painterly imagery, the complex syntax, the almost obsessive eye for detail: "Also, there are blue treetops waving/To the schoolgirls who step harshly along/In winter dresses: out of the mouths of these girls/Come the cones, their breath,/A mist like the little silver ear trumpets/Of deaf children tipped toward whatever it is/They are almost hearing." The problem in Dubie's previous books has been that too often the reader was kept at a distance by the privateness of that voice; so that, although one admired the beautiful, elegant surface, one was simply not given enough information for understanding. Why this detail and not that one, and what is to be our attitude toward the poem? The poems in this new book seem to me more accessible, however, as though Dubie has decided to be less secretive. More often the exquisitely rendered details seem to be there for a reason; in "Elegy to the Sioux," for example, the details of a scene pictured on a vase -- scattered groups of cavalry and Indians -- perfectly reveal the pathos and insensitivity of history. And there are also more personal poems here than Dubie has allowed himself before, poems spoken directly in Dubie's voice -- "You", a love poem, for example, and the elegy "The Hours," with its beautiful closing lines: "There were many more bells/Than we thought, they will/Never stop for us, as waking to them we realize that/Throughout our lives, in the light and in the dark,/We were always counting our losses." Like John Ashbery, Dubie is a powerful poet of the memory and motion of life, "of a city/That is being constructed all of the time. . ./Somewhere inside the mind."