In Donna Stonecipher's debut collection of poems, a continual renovation of prosepoem forms unites narrative with lyricism to invent a luxurious little country, where the elegance of architecture, specifically European, houses a purely American spirit. ""Anything seen through an arch is instantly picturesque,"" declares the first line of ""Album."" Form renders meaning and makes beauty possible, and yet the arch is an artificial imposition on the scene. Likewise, birds, butterflies, and a swan flit through the poems, symbols of the artifice of ornamentation that dazzles in the distance but disappoints upon closer inspection; in these poems, a bird in the bush is worth two in the hand. It is the reservoir, artificial but functional, beautiful only incidentally, that, ""placid through the seasons, may save us."" The union of narrative (function) and lyricism (beauty) in the reservoir, both reserving and reserved, results in poems that have much to tell, and even more to hold in, leaving the reader with the impression of secrets partly revealed, partly kept in reserve as mercurial lifeblood.