It isn't easy reading Alvin Feinman's first collection. It not only pushes off from current poetic predispositions (nothing here, for instance, is colloquial, ""confessional"" or dramatic), but also seems often to be at odds with itself, its own chosen element. Later one grants the odd-ness its metaphoric necessity. These extremely self-contained lyrics, these metal mirrors and imaginative figurations both azzle and darken. They are really predicated on some sort of phenomenological approach, some densely refined apprehension of consciousness, a twisting and turning of idea and image (understandable enough since the poet was trained in philosophy and formerly taught at Yale). His work suggests close readings of Stevens and Miss Moore, of Mallarme and Rilke, and of Crane; there's the romantic cadence of one, the symbolic clusterings or notational development of the others. Feinman's forte and reality, or in another sense, dream and destiny, intertwine and some intolerable struggle is resolved, even if the nature of that struggle remains half-hidden, like an iceberg. Mallarme said: ""To point, not the thing, but the effect it produces."" Feinman attempts both, and almost succeeds. For a young (34) poet, his achievement is considerable, his craftsmanship unusually assured.