John Leonard Press, $24.95 pb, 68 pp
Carphology, in case you have forgotten, is the ‘delirious fumbling with bedclothes’, as stated in the epigraph to David Musgrave’s poem of the same name, which is not about a pathology but, energetically though bleakly, about passion and sleep. The epigraph to the book as a whole is taken from Christopher Smart’s Jubilate Agno, fragment C1: ‘God be gracious to Musgrave, for he is a Merchant.’ Tongue in cheek, but Musgrave does indeed have wares and they are finely assembled configurations of words. The poems in Phantom Limb often suggest, rather than explicitly display, Musgrave’s erudition. There is a communicative ease about the enterprise, if this can be said about poems that continue to declare themselves after multiple readings. In them there are elusive depths combined with surface pleasures.