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Chameleon Hours, Elise Partridge's follow-up to her much-admired Fielder's Choice (2002), is evidence that lyric poetry -- clean, bracing, unadorned -- truly can be equal to challenging subject matter. In these poems, love for friends, family, and partners, and most impressively, the urge to love strangers in need, kindles the fire of the voice. Partridge's poems see the world in its particulars, and offer a kind of fidelity to small and contingent details.
Full of wit and empathy, yet utterly free of the sensationalism that mars so much of contemporary verse, Elise Partridge's poems draw inspiration from sources as whimsical as snails and frogs, as poignant as a homeless woman taking shelter inside a post office on a winter night, and as deeply personal as her own cancer diagnosis at a relatively young age. Her poetry gives us a steadiness of vision, and reminds us we live among treasures.