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Over half of the poems in Cliff Richeal's Where the River Keeps No Gods have questions in them, and the fact is a telling one: even where the question mark does not appear explicitly, the poems in this collection conduct a relentless interrogation into what it means to be alive-responsibly alive-in a world that resist any easy explanation. The themes here are remarkable in their breadth and explore the individual life in multiple contexts, including the contexts of the collective life, of government, of work and bureaucracy, of political and personal freedom, of the need for renewal, of language's fundamental role in understanding experience, of love, of pain, of memory and hope. These poems often describe a world apparently hostile to human endeavor. But the central theme in this book is how we find the resolve to move forward in such a world without denying the past or misrepresenting the obstacles ahead. Steven Reese