What You Want by McLane

What You Want by McLane

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National Book Award finalist Maureen N. McLane stuns with a precise, perceptive book of poetic meditations.

In her first book of poems since the scintillating More Anon: Selected Poems, Maureen N. McLane offers a bravura, trenchant sounding out of inner and outer weathers. What You Want is a book of core landscapes, mindscapes, and shifting moods. Meditative, lyrical, alert to seasons and pressures on our shared life, McLane registers and shapes an ambient unease. Whether skying with John Constable or walking on wintry paths in our precarious republic, the poet channels what Wordsworth called “moods of my own mind” while she scans for our common horizon.

Here are poems filled with gulls and harbors, blinking red lights and empty lobster traps, beach roses and rumored sharks, eels and crows, wind turbines and superhighways. From Sappho to the Luminist painter Fitz Henry Lane, from constellations to microplastics, What You Want is a book alive to the cosmos as well as to our moment, with its many vexations and intermittent illuminations.

In poems of powerful command and delicate invitation, moving from swift notations to powerfully sustained sequences, this collection sees McLane testing what (if anything) might “outlast the coming heat.” And meanwhile, “There’s no end / to beauty and shit.”