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The scents that permeate the poems of AROMATICS include bittersweet ones of memory, acrid ones of danger, and many others equally enticing or alarming. Candles-in this enlightened age, who needs them? Everyone and his mother, it appears. And what they're after more than anything is opportunity to choose aromas. As in Robert B. Shaw's previous work, his questing scrutiny of the world's inner mysteries is revealed in daily concerns and the self-reflection and hope that accompanies it. Looking through the skylight a moment after midnight, I found my gaze returned. The seven bright eyes burned with neither love nor hate. Robert Frost once offered this definition of a successful poem: "Read it a hundred times: it will forever keep its freshness as a metal keeps its fragrance." The poems in this book aspire to that high standard. "Robert Shaw can do almost anything in verse, and do it well. His structural patterns vary; the range of his subjects is wide, but his New England sensibility is bedrock; unexpected shifts and turns mark many poems. His voice is conversational yet quietly formal, amiably inviting to his reader. Everything, no matter how randomly it may seem to occur, is aimed. His rare and subtle ways of observing the things of this world are also affectionate and welcoming. Aromatics, Shaw's sixth book of poetry, caps 30 years of work, of saying what he has 'lived to say.' It's a gem."-Dabney Stuart, Author of "Tables" "Undaunted by 'the heatless fire of time' (not heartless-heatless), unafraid of the monsters of myth (check the poem about Perseus), and wonderfully allusive, whether comic (how did Rilke get into that gym? see the end of 'Working Out') or tragicomic (see the villanelle 'Single File, ' with its joke against Frost's 'Design'), Shaw demonstrates once again his care and craft, his mix of transatlantic, or traditional, elegance and New England honesty, of fluent blank verse and rhyme, attentive to-rather than bound by-the examples of Frost, Auden, Merrill. Here is an unshowy, confident, and often masterful collection: read it and hear it, and you might just find yourself saying, some times, 'What a neat effect ' and at others, simply, 'Life is like that.-Stephen Burt, professor of English at Harvard, Author of "Close Calls with Nonsense.