A collection of lyrical short stories from an Irish poet. Deane imagines a host of singular characters living on the edge in nameless villages and in various ways: a weary old fiddler, a philosophical coffin maker, a repentant woman fallen among uncomprehending nuns, a wheelchair-bound man heading for a perilous cliff, and many others. Employing a vivid style crowded with imagery—sometimes sublime, sometimes merely confusing—Deane (poetry: Upon Foreign Soil, 1999) doesn't quite deliver the transcendent clarity these restless souls—and perhaps his readers—long for, and he sometimes seems almost dazzled by his own talent for metaphor. But it all sounds lovely anyway, even if unfocused. For the most part, this is poetry recast as prose, with an airy disregard for anything as mundane as structure. Intriguing, if somewhat insubstantial.