Adele Schwartz's writing clings like dew, at once tenacious and evanescent, to the hard surfaces of life. She has an unerring eye for the sufferings and lonelinesses we all share, uncompromising humanity, and an exquisite ear for the rhythms of language and speech. Her poems stop people in their tracks, clear as a bell, vivid and unavoidable, coaxing them to remember that our existence is a continual unpeeling of layers of conscious awareness that, as Emerson said, the unexamined life is t worth living. Her earlier collections, Yesterday s Breakfast and Black Ice, are included in this omnibus volume. Her stories, collected here for the first time as well, are by turns hilarious and devastating, exposing with surgical precision the terrifying moments when people just like us find themselves sliding in uncontrolled frenzy past the usual sanctuaries of life moments we all try our best to deny. Enter this riveting world, and you will emerge the wiser for it.