This collection of poetry builds on the success of the author's 1995 Akron Poetry Prize winner, "Her Slender Dress", which also won the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award. The new poems speak in a voice recognisably Yuzna's, though now deepened and darkened, with a quickening twist of mordant humour. Feisty or contemplative, in Eden or on the mean streets, these poems look at the long tradition of women struggling towards fulfilment. Using figures mythical and real, from Venus to Billie Holiday, Yuzna explores the links that exist between the physical transformations unique to female experience and their spiritual and emotional epiphanies. Encompassing these themes is the paradox of poetry: though a small thing, a "pale bird", it is also a source of passion and power, "spouting fire", strong enough to lift us beyond the commonplace, to change daily experience into moments when we recognise the presence of the extraordinary.