Like the crows he describes in one of his witty, wry poems, John J. Ronan casts "a cold eye on life, on death." These edgy, intelligent poems brim with emotion without ever nearing the sentimental. Ronan revels in life and laments inevitable time, but does not wallow. An Irish American steeped in dark joy, Ronan reveals roots in Yeats, Heaney, Mahon and others. "To exist and then not to exist—it's a raw sort of humor," he writes. In his work we see both the raw surface and always, always the humor. These poems are a joy to read.