3 poetry collections that are full of surprises

These three poetry collections take readers in unexpected directions.

2. 'Roget’s Illusion,' by Linda Bierds


"Roget’s Illusion" is a thoughtful, measured collection that explores the relationship between language and illusion. The tightly crafted verse asks two central questions: Can words really capture life? And why does a wheel (on film) seem to go backward – or not move at all – while moving forward?

Dr. Peter Roget prompts both inquiries. Roget’s Thesaurus appeared in 1852; but today he is also known for the optical illusion that bears his name. In this, Bierds’s ninth collection, the speaker looks to art and science for answers, yet finds only possibilities.

In these poems, Roget and other historical figures grapple with their own limitations and questions: “Lamp. Matter. Symmetry. Why try again to capture/ the world? Light as compass, wind as hinge?/ All the dust-shaped moths on their word-shaped pins,/ after Confinement and before Preservation?”

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