Drawing inspiration from the work of Rene Char, Melissa Kwasny in The Nine Senses presents a new kind of prose poem. Casting aside the narrative-plus-moral formula of old, these experiments make each line equal to the next, challenging the way we read sequentially. Dylan Thomas, Roman water lines, Paul Celan, Shirin Neshat, anti-depressants, Buddhism, William Carlos Williams, Trakl, cancer, Beckett, Pound, Breton, the Iraq War, telekinesis, clairvoyance, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Yeats, among many others, appear side by side in these pages.As if liberating the intellect, the prose poem form invites a wave of vivid, colliding images, and allows a comfortable wordiness and word play that is inherently poetic. Raising the ante even further than Reading Novalis in Montana, this book asks how do we tie ourselves to the world when our minds are always someplace other than where we are?As bromides and aphorisms degrade in this new construct, we are left with the realization that we have been misled by culture and politics, which encourages prevarication. Obliquely touching on the cancer of a friend, her own troubled relationship with her father, and the break-up of a nearly thirty-year partnership, Kwasny also questions mortality, temporality, and eternity. Walking the knife-edge between safety and danger, and marveling over the quickness with which the familiar can end, Kwasny posits a new perception of time, in which the work lives on under new direction. Near the end of the book, Kwasny’s signature abstraction melts away in some very direct poems about her own cancer and diagnosis.With this manuscript, Kwasny achieves a new level of artistry. Although form is consistent throughout, the thematic cycle is rich and varied: abstract, elliptic, collaged, and ultimately evolving toward the end into powerful statements that are some of the most direct ever uttered by this author.