'But back to the summer day the spike
grazed my brother's scalp: I slept beside him
in his racing car bed and my father woke me
and slapped my face, thinking, I assume, of sex,
whereas I was already thinking about death.'
Urban, suburban, sharply observant, now obsessive and now urbane, the poems in Kathryn Maris's third book range with a dry wit over such subjects as parenthood, marriage, adultery, the politics of children's sports contests, female prison and psychoanalysis. The House with Only an Attic and a Basement is that rare thing: a darkly funny collection of poems that courses with keen intelligence, yet wears its learning lightly so that it is a pleasure to stride along with every poem.