Marooned in the shiftless, unnamed space between a map of the world and a world of false maps, Ken Babstock’s poems cling to what’s necessary from each, while attempting to sing their own bewilderment. Methodist Hatchet sets the currencies of living, thinking, and writing on a level plain. The symbolic currencies of natural and engineered worlds -- the monetary, cultural, intellectual, and experiential -- mimic, dog, and evade each other in a brilliant play of contingency and consequence. Even the poem itself -- the idea of a poem -- as a unit of understanding is shadowed by a great unknowing. Fearless in its language, its trajectories, and its frames of reference, Babstock’s fourth collection gazes upon the objects of its attention until they rattle, and exude their auras of strangeness. It is this strangeness, this mysterious stillness, that is the heart of Babstock’s playful, fierce, intelligent book. Methodist Hatchet is an exhilarating new work from one of our most celebrated poets.