Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

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In the Flesh: Poems

Adam O'Riordan's poems touch on a variety of subjects, moods and settings with maturity beyond his early-30s age and a reach beyond his English roots. His first collection, In the Flesh, is a rich tapestry of form and feeling (what Robert Frost called "the sound of sense"), containing poems that ask to be read aloud--and then read again. Like Frost's poetry and that of the English Romantics, O'Riordan's work is often set in the natural world but always comes back to the human significance within it. "Goooogle" has lonely men "sit/ pale as geishas,/ by the glow of obsolete/ computers.... The busy crickets/ of their fingers/ stoking engines/ with maiden names/ and zip codes/ of ex-lovers."

The poems reflect an earthy lustiness to life--the vulnerability and substance of the "flesh" in his title. O'Riordan's sensitivity to history, drama and human frailty come together in the five-part poem "The Act of Falling," which describes the 1913 death of the British suffragette Emily Davison, trampled by the king's runaway horse at the Epsom Derby:

"a bobbing speck
of horse, rider-less
in the middle distance,

its blood pumping a message
from haunch to forelock,
an imperative she understands:

telling it to cross the line
at whatever cost,
to cross the line alone if you must."

In the Flesh carries way more heft than its brevity suggests and leaves us eager to see what Adam O'Riordan offers next. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.