Edward Fisher’s first collection of poems, Conversation with a Skeleton, is a haunting, meticulously-crafted tour de force. At once passionate and lyrical, it is both a lament for, and defense of, a lost Bohemia. In it, he plumbs the depths of a mood of disquietude, defiant in the face of certain trends in American culture—its unchecked militarism, its imperial propaganda, and the corporate colonization of consciousness— all of which show little sympathy for poets, and tend to marginalize, dismiss, or even steer them toward martyrdom. Here are sleepless nights, oedipal anxieties, a psychological exploration of writers’ block, a disturbing look at our epidemic of missing and exploited children, a melancholy meditation on black-holes, the atomic age and the extinction of species, along with homages to a pantheon of dead poets who dominate his sensibilities and style. At home in both free verse and more traditional form, Fisher does not shy away from the challenges posed to modern practitioners by meter and rhyme. These are moments of vision and witness that dare to stare unflinchingly into the existential abyss—the dilemma of ourselves in the midst of a world at the brink, in all its tragic, tortured dimensions.