What I admire about Angela Vogel's poems is the way that they welcome me as a reader, with a refreshingly frank diction, and images that make me remember why I love images so much. The poems of Fort Gorgeous are replete with flora and fauna, but not in a decorative sense. Instead, the gardens and forests of this book are active champions of their own destinies, perhaps even a bit predatory. Vogel's sense of humor emboldens these poems (I mean, look at the titles! "We'll Go for the Juggler," or "GPS: A Fairytale"), but it's not a slackerish or empty kind of humor. These poems deploy the most subtle and compelling social critiques, poking fun in the process.
Fort Gorgeous should be required reading for anyone grappling with lineation, as Vogel's work exhibits such mastery of the break and turn. "Jubilee Year" begins, "The only thing left is to hang / our hat on regret's haberdasherie," but as readers we want to keep our hats on, not hang them up. This book doesn't belong on a shelf. It belongs in your hand, and then wherever you set it down when it works its bright magic on you.