There are poems in this book as extraordinary as any I've read in some time, particularly the opening and closing poems, "Spring Snow" and "Long." These are exquisitely beautiful metaphysical poems, emblematic and mysterious, in which image and idea are knit and unraveled and knit again in a Stevensian "music of the mind." Here is "Spring Snow": Here comes the powdered milk I drank as a child, and the money it saved. Here comes the papers I delivered, the spotted dog in heat that followed me home and the dogs that followed her. Here comes a load of white laundry from basketball practice, and sheets with their watermarks of semen. And here comes snow, a language in which no word is ever repeated, love is impossible, and remorse . . . Yet childhood doesn't end, but accumulates, each memory knit to the next, and the fields become one field. If to die is to lose all detail, then death is not so distinguished, but a profusion of detail, a last gossip, character passed wholly into fate and fate in flecks, like dust, like flour, like snow. Part of the power of this poem lies in Matthews' ability to blend perfectly the elegant and the colloquial. Though Matthews can be astoundingly dull and trivial, the fine poems are what one remembers.