The Niagara River

By Kay Ryan

A small book of small poems, all very visual and stripped down to the essential. Very dense language and sometimes fun to read out loud. Each poem zooms in on one or 2 visceral scenes. The complexity she achieves with just a few simple moves is remarkable.

Here’s one of my favorites:

Sharks’ Teeth

Everything contains some
silence. Noise gets
its zest from the
small shark’s-tooth
shaped fragments
of rest angled
in it. An hour
of city holds maybe
a minute of these
remnants of a time
when silence reigned,
compact and dangerous
as a shark. Sometimes
a bit of a tail
or fin can still
be sensed in parks.