"The Key to the City "brings together work that has long been admired by readers of literary magazines and quarterlies. The collection opens with "The Ruins," a group of poems set in poor neighborhoods in New York City--some so cut off from midtown that they seem part of another continent or another age. The people in these poems are schoolgirls, a cleaning lady in the laundromat, derelicts, a prostitute stabbed in the street. Their interwoven voices contribute to a complex, grave vision of remote causes and immediate suffering in the city. The poems of the second section explore a broad range of experience: pregnancy and nursing, inward solitude, the textures of Renaissance painting and American landscapes.