This extraordinary poetic voyage uses explorations of the material culture of our past and present as points of departure. Sandra McPherson succeeds in drawing us into her examination of objects from the 20th and late 19th centuries through her weaving together of images both familiar and startling into deeply satisfying poems. She is especially interested in articles that might seem useless, extinct, or "irrelevant" to us now, such as children's military playthings, diaries and scrapbooks of unknown and unfamous people, quilts from people of Mennonite and Amish convictions, "primitive" utilitarian wooden objects, telegrams and curious photographs. These poems are characteristically simple and unadorned, bringing readers closer and closer to a physical world we often overlook, but which is filled with sensation and meaning. From traditional stanzaic poems to collages and prose ghazals, the author embraces "civilization" by visiting the spirit of the secret voices of its people.