We should be grateful to May Swenson. Here we have a serious poet, sensitively female but not a bludgeoning feminist, with ideas of her own and the grace and wit to express them. Miss Swenson has made particularly her own that 17th-century phenomenon, the ""shaped poem."" Readers will remember from their school days George Herbert and his poems called--and built on the page to resemble--""An Altar"" and ""Easter Wings."" But her shapes are not his. Sometimes they are self-explanatory: a fountain, a mountain, a lightning flash, the map of Fire Island. But not always: why does ""The Universe"" come out on the page in funny little lines? Why do such poems as ""Untitled"" need scraggly random lines drawn through them (unless to tease the printer)? There are fewer of these among the new poems in this volume, which should win her a wider audience. A writer so in love with the world around her, and even its inhabitants, is bound to reach readers. As, perhaps, in these lines about Georgia O'Keeffe: ""Where in-betweens turn visible blues, white objects vanish,/except--see, high at horizon on a vast canvas sky--/ one undisciplined tuft, little live cloud, blowing:/fleece, breath of illusion.