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“Toward a flower- / ing I came // lowly lupine raised / wrist,” Juliet Patterson begins in “Toward,” the opening poem of her latest collection, Threnody, out last fall from Nightboat Books. And with these few lines, she deftly establishes the themes and sensibilities of her project: nature raised up into inspection, and with it, inspection itself (the wrist). Quiet, patient, yet often with a swarming force, these poems worry the fraught intersection between humanity and nature, where, as we quickly see, threat abides. If nature is a flowering, it is a flowering against the edges of nothingness...Threnody is set against the backdrop of extinction—specifically, Colony Collapse Disorder, the sudden disappearance in recent years of millions of beehives that many scientists link to various human causes and which Patterson has addressed in other activist projects. While bees as a specific species figure prominently throughout the collection, the focus of these poems is often much more fundamental, concerned with nature as a generative force entangled with the human mind and its impulse to make both images and language. This relationship between human subject and nature is primordial and immediately hinges on implicit questions about human agency and responsibility. “What light is like this?”