by Dorianne Laux

W.W. Norton & Co, $24.95, 92 pages

Dorianne Laux’s fifth collection of poetry, The Book of Men: Poems, peels back the layers of complicated life and seeks to explain what makes each of us human. The 36-poem compilation reads like a continuous story, even though each poem represents a select moment of life.

“Staff Sgt. Metz” begins with a lyrical story comparing a modern-day soldier with a ghost from the narrator’s past, a spirit of first love reignited at the glimpse of camo. “When my boyfriend was drafted I made a vow to write a letter every day, and then broke it,” the poem’s narrator speaks, a commonplace situation in today’s world as well as the past.

One of my favorites, “Late-Night TV,” observes the late-night routine and what brings people together. “Somewhere in the universe is a palace where each of us is imprinted with a map; the one path seared into the circuits of our brains.”Laux places words in her hands and sifts through the meaningless drivel, searching for precision and imagination instead. The rhythm of each poem sets a predestined path, taking readers on a poetic journey of life’s simplest flashes of time.

LuAnn Schindler