Marilyn Hacker's range and technical skill provide moneysworth -- a sequence of modern poems in the convention of the Provencal troubadour alba. Italian sestinas (one, for instance, on the relation of poetry to politics). A villanelle for modern alienated lovers. Blank verse -- ""imaginary translations."" Elegies for both Madame de Stael and Janis Joplin. A poem to the poet's Three Muses: Sylvia Plath, a declining middle-aged woman, and ""a Beautiful Boy, out of a pederast's fantasy."" A ten-poem historical sequence about love a trois, including that Beautiful Boy. An elegant envoi ""To the Reader"" (""And if Catullus learns to cook/ while Lesbia goes to the bars to cruise, you haven't put up anything to lose/ except two hours to read a different book""). A witty, incisive apologia pro opere sue about the difference between men's and women's poetry. Hacker (age 32 -- a year older than Plath when she died) is an ambitious dedicated craftsman. This is a book to keep.