I was skeptical when Traci Brimhall’s second collection, Our Lady of the Ruins, appeared in my mailbox. A growing lack of poetic appreciation has elevated the search for this century’s poetic genius to a hysterical quest. Collection synopses hyping “half-feral street urchins” and “mid-apocalyptic exiles pilgrimaging for salvation” strike me as cheap attempts to arouse readers to canine levels of excitement. Tongues loll. Wide-eyed panting ensues. Occasionally, someone loses control of his/er bladder and wets the carpet. Meanwhile, the quiet word passed around the wine-and-cheese table is, Well, the writer pulled off an interesting idea. At best, it’s a book-length experiment. At worst, the edgy premise meant to pull in the masses and electrify the discourse stomps over such archaic concepts as meaning and craft, giving birth to Frankenstein collections: a brilliant second jolt of life for the poet, but a tortured and clumsy beast. Interesting in the abstract, but no one wants to get into bed with it, especially when these gimmicks come off as insulting to or out-of-touch with the subject matter. When it comes to the gimmick/edge debate, readers are split between those who want poetry to house its meaning in familiar objects and moments, and those who want poetry to transport them light-years away from the mundane.