Colorfast, the fourth collection by Rose McLarney (Forage), conjures Southern Appalachia in 56 poems that focus on the domestic arts over time: food, textiles, and marriage.

The book prioritizes secret knowledge passed down through female generations. For instance, "All the Elizabeths" recounts North Carolina folklore about how to predict one's future husband. Women's roles emerge when "[s]tudying the silences" in historical documents such as cookbooks. The long poem "Receipts," named for the archaic spelling of "recipes," contrasts girlhood across the centuries. "The kitchen is where girls/ in the 1600s... learned," while the speaker and her classmates were alienated from food: "Girls began/ to pass lunchtimes inside, doing homework./ This was good practice for skipping meals entirely,/ which some among us would come to do."

"Cakewalk" is both a literal rundown of baked goods and a meditation on a Southern legacy of plantations and poverty. McLarney's verse is full of alliteration and internal rhymes, as in "Between, break beans," one of the steps for preparing a meal. Minerals and shades of red recur. Other subjects include fossils, perfume, and an antique blanket.

In "One Kind," the pair bonding of birds mirrors human marriage. In "Protecting the Crops," a veil evokes a wedding and describes the bird netting spread over berries. Peaceful poems like "Each Morning Again" and "Holds Me Here" celebrate what is routine and benevolent, and "You Must Know" closes the collection marvelously by likening animal tracks to the passage of years.

McLarney collapses time, crafting something simultaneously region-specific and universal. --Rebecca Foster, freelance reviewer, proofreader and blogger at Bookish Beck

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