Poetry. RUMORS OF EARTH is the second volume in a trilogy of poetry collections, preceded by TRANSPARENCIES, followed by Amazements. These collections, pseudo-autobiographical, create a modern poetic landscape, beautifully and recognizably Midwestern, but their verve and vituperation betray an ancestry that goes much farther back, to the flytings and cursings of the medieval Makars. In RUMORS OF EARTH, Robert Edwards seems to receive messages, Orpheus-like, from an alternative America more wise and just than our own. His constant awareness of the distance between our promise and what we've become, as individuals and as a nation, laces these poems with tough threads of regret, anger, and love. Edwards's fusion of the personal and the political reaches its highest potency in the haunting long poem 'Pen Pals.' Addressing his poem-letter 'to everyone who might be you, ' Edwards is ultimately, generously, writing to us all--Thomas R. Smith.