Like Conrad’s Marlow, Joseph Millar speaks with fierce compassion and the authority of hard-won experience. In his remarkable third collection, Blue Rust, he lays down "the shield of irony" without taking up the consolations of easy sentiment or detached despair. The result is an unstrained originality: lyrics that avoid the metronome, leaps of imagination in which the associative logic never trails off into self-indulgent incoherence. Millar looks hard at a world that is doomed and beautiful. What sets Blue Rust apart is its ability to honor both sides.