Emanuel's version of a "new and selected poems" turns convention on its head. She ignores chronology, placing new poems beside old, mixing middle and early poems with recent work, and liberating all her poems from the restraints of their particular histories, both aesthetic and autobiographical. Whether writing in the comedic drag of the cartoon strip, or investigating the Mobius strip relationship between reader and writer, or exposing the humor and hurt that accompany visitations from Frank O'Hara and Gertrude Stein, The Nerve of It both stings and pleases with its intelligence, wit and vivacity. It breaks through, in ways that are bold, sexy, haunting and wry, the die-hard opposition of new and old, personal narrative and linguistic play, sincerity and irony, misery and hilarity. Open the book. Something new is happening here.