ABOUT THIS BOOK
The Key to the City brings together work that has long been admired by readers of literary magazines and quarterlies. The collection opens with "The Ruins," a group of poems set in poor neighborhoods in New York City—some so cut off from midtown that they seem part of another continent or another age. The people in these poems are schoolgirls, a cleaning lady in the laundromat, derelicts, a prostitute stabbed in the street. Their interwoven voices contribute to a complex, grave vision of remote causes and immediate suffering in the city. The poems of the second section explore a broad range of experience: pregnancy and nursing, inward solitude, the textures of Renaissance painting and American landscapes.