The poems in Henri Cole's third book, The Look of Things, voice the tension between the social and the spiritual life, between the desire for company and for solitude, between youth and the ravages of disease, between the American and the exotic. Cole treats these conflicting concerns in tones sometimes satiric, sometimes elegiac, sometimes ruefully self-deprecating, sometimes harrowingly tragic. The vein of playfulness cannot obscure the social and domestic losses attending life, but joy is not forgotten, even when it is black-bordered by epitaph. Though the ghost of formal verse haunts these poems, they allude to it without subservience. And Cole lifts the topics of everyday life into the symbolic order of reflection and structure without ever losing his awareness of their origins in the heart.