This first full-length volume by a University of Nevada (Reno) professor gets by on its modest charms and singular ambition: Pahmeier explores the mysteries of the human heart and celebrates the men in her life. She does so largely through a character named Emma, who shares her winning ways throughout, confessing her —love of the boys— and her happiness in the kitchen. The lovely poems about her father recall in snapshot form a wealth of fond memories: playing dolls with her when her mother was away (—Barbie, Ken, and Emma's Daddy—); learning baseball at the World Series with him (—Emma Remembers Something of the World Series—); and being pushed by him on swings (—The Swing—). Driving and cars provide a particular bond: —What will I tell my children when he is gone?/ He was a quiet man who could make things run.— Pahmeier surveys other relationships less convincingly'some contemplating breakup, others haunted by violence. The simple language of pickup trucks, meatloaf, baseball, and country music can't sustain this mostly lighthearted volume over the long haul.
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