“These poems by California poet Diane Solis glint with distinctive Western light. Like Larry Levis, Solis exhibits her breadth of skill with tightly compressed poems (“Thirst Like This,” “Tigers of Her Imagination”) as well as sprawling suburbanesque narratives (“Bennies,” “Dolphin Skeleton,” “Cigarettes”). Solis’ work pushes the reader past California’s chardonnay-tinged Romanticism to face the mirrored glare of the land “east of Eden.” Here, reminiscent of Frank Bidart, we find cancer, industrial accidents, county jails, bars, syringes, internment camps, and mange—all tucked among camellias, quail, chaparral, and peach trees. Solis makes a well-cultivated and rich contribution; she extends the open gesture embodied in California poetry.”
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