Human Nature explores, both seductively and horrificly, the redemptive possibilities found in an American girlhood gone wrong. Every one of Anderson's poems tells a storydangerous, sensuous, sometimes crazy, sometimes sacred tales that take us into the heartbreaking reality and strangeness of a little girl who grew up the woman of the house; at once drink-maker, showpiece, secret-keeper, and object of lust.
The terrain of incest and violence sets itself out on the page so subtely and plainly that the poems become mere containers for these extremes, a kind of prayer. Where formal grace might seem impossible, Anderson sings. And this is why the book with all its darkness and dangeris, in the end, an affirmative one. The poems rise out of childhood's sorrows into a womanhood filled with the past, hell-bent on the future, and ready for a fight. In haunting, elegant verse, Anderson enters into the truth of experience. Through it all, the poems come to embrace those universal illuminations that arise out of--or even because of--suffering.