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Sean Thomas Dougherty

The Body's Precarious Balance ***

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Sean Thomas Dougherty has written a stunningly gritty book that leads the reader through the tenements, streets, and playgrounds of Northern New England and Central New York. Dougherty is the poet of the small city, and in his new collection he offers the reader intimate portraits of the people who spend their days simply trying to survive, of rooming houses where "each room is a heart, barely beating," and teens who spend their nights cruising the boulevards looking for "rolled-down-window waltzes/ of red-light-chance-encounters." He infuses the stories of these lives with a lyric intensity that moves beyond the performance realm.