Randall Jarrell once praised Richard Wilbur’s “lyric calling-to-life of the things of this world.” A similar awakening takes place in Deborah Warren’s Dream with Flowers and Bowl of Fruit, recipient of the 2008 Richard Wilbur Award. In the title poem, Warren candidly admits that her “dreams these days are boring”:

Fruit is low on drama, and I miss
Passion, flying, falling, being chased,
Crashing, panic—trauma—and I miss,
Small and quick, a movement in the grapes,
And the shiver of a petal in the vase.

The last two lines are beautiful and memorable: the way “vase” sounds against “miss” and “grapes,” and the way the lines disrupt the poem’s chronology. Is Warren describing a dream she would like to have, or one she has not had in a long time? Or, are the...


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