Jonathan Galassi's second book of poems opens with a group of dithyrambs , extravagent irregular compositions that evoke both the flow and ebb of the seasons and the currents of feeling in a life. Like the book as a whole, they draw on nature, history, and personal history, the world outside and the world within - and on the treasure - house of language itself - as the poet works to find form for experience. The forty poems in North Street are concerned with the space between Turning Forty and Turning Fifty , between the assumption of maturity and the sighting of its limits. All are preoccupied in one way or another with the notion of an otherwhere , a world I don't believe in in which the water of memory is washed by the water of forgetfulness , and the touch of forgiveness allows a guilty man to go free . It is between the poles - between original desire and conditional freedom, between the recognition of aloneness and gratitude for the gnawing, the knowing/the being and being here - that the drama, the story the North Street unfolds.