The Nature of Things—Real and Imaginary

Once again, D.A. Feinfeld does what a poet does with words, namely, perform the alchemy of metaphor, turning the ordinary into something more that itself. Rodin’s Eyes is a good title for this collection, and a good flagship poem because it deals so strongly with the themes of perception and transcendence. In this case, it’s two artists at work—painter and sculptor—which in turn become subjects for the poet, subjects that change him.

This pair of themes, perception and transcendence, runs throughout most of Rodin’s Eyes. The nature of things—every-day objects, more expansive subjects like landscapes, and natural things—take on greater meaning and influence than we normally give them in their usual appearance in our lives. Most of these perceptions are visual—and intellectual or emotional—dealing with shapes and colors, but some, like “Fugue” and “Kokopelli,” are about sound and all it can conjure. Water shows up in different forms up as a leitmotif: as sea, as art medium, as rain. Another thing the poet offers is big—even upsetting—ideas, from seeing angels as fierce to seeing the stars rushing away from us to the nature of gravity.

To end the collection, D.A. Feinfeld entertains us with his fanciful world, the Bestiary, where words and zoology team up in surprising pairs that make more sense than we might expect. We welcome these animals into the menagerie and delight in the poet’s varied perceptions and lenses—from dark and revealing to playful and mysterious.

D.A. Feinfeld edited the literary magazine at the University of Rochester and attended Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. His poems have appeared in dozens of journals, including Ploughshares, High Plains Literary Review, Blue Unicorn, and JAMA. He is the author of two other poetry collections, What Do the Numbers Dream Of? and Bestiary of the Heart.

Rodin's Eyes
D.A. Feinfeld
ISBN 1-56474-437-X
96 pages, paperback, $14.00

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