In a relatively short career, Beverley Bie Brahic has already achieved critical acclaim as poet, translator and, at times, translator-poet. White Sheets, her second collection of poems, reveals a voice that somehow melds contradictory aspects: beguilingly elusive yet unabashed in its solidity, it exercises a curious fascination.
Unsurprisingly, some of the strongest pieces are Bie Brahic's translations of the meticulously observed prose poems of Francis Ponge. (Her volume of Ponge translations, Unfinished Ode to Mud, 2008, was highly acclaimed.) But her original poems also bear the miniaturist's impress: in "Solstice", for example, Bie Brahic observes, with beautiful clarity, how a "knife / pares the shadow / of a red onion" while in "Coda", she stills a heron by the water into "a Venetian / glass figurine toeing the line of a mirror's bevel".
There is plenty of intense observation of objects, reminiscent of still life paintings - not just in the helpfully titled "Still Life with Peaches", but in almost every poem here.