Taking inspiration from the curiosity cabinets of the late Renaissance, David Barber offers up in his second book an eclectic gallery of natural marvels and historical gleanings. Creation his chief subject, Barber concentrates on humankind's quest to impose definition and significance on the natural world. In these poems he meditates on all manner of wondrous phenomena: falconry and funiculars, the knotted quipus of the Incan Empire and the tulipmania of the Dutch Golden Age; the lore and language of fields, epitaphs, bee-keeping and seafaring; the ghostly vestiges of the La Brea Tar Pits and the ancient Library of Alexandria. The innovative suite of New World sutras, composed in haiku stanzas, riffs on the American genius for self-innovation and epic ambition by calling up such landmark figures as John James Audubon, Harry Houdini, Babe Ruth, and Buster Keaton. Barber delves deeply into the realms of both popular culture and national history with a formal and verbal precision rife with agile music, avid wordplay, and mordant wit.