As is the case with most poetry anthologies, this one has its highs and lows depending on your expectations. For me, the heights weren't necessarily the poems that showcased showoffy pyrotechnics but rather the poems which gave me a taste, a scratch or sniff sense memory, of Washington state, even if the language was plain, even if the poem wasn't a technical marvel, a marvel of technique and virtuosity and energy and accents and syllables.
So, the anthology succeeded in the moments when I recognized a landmark, whether it be a drive-in theater or a mountain range. It failed when the language got too froo-froo, fruity, the imagery too abstract. You can do a lot of things with water, whether it's swim or drink or gaze, but over thousands of years, water (from the sky or through the woods) has really been wrung dry as far as, y'know, making a person feel anything whilst they're reading unless, like, they're real super-thirsty or something or other.
The collection seems to be tilted more towards the west side (Seattle), which is unfortunate, because the eastern side has its vibrant scene of, like, diverse voices, too, man. The stars of the anthology are immediately recognizable names: Sherman Alexie, Tess Gallagher, Tom Robbins - but I wish each poet was given at least a thumbnail biography, as their bonafides are boiled down to the city and/or region in which they're presently scribbling their little hearts out.
As a snapshot of where poetry as an art is now, this collection is pretty terrific. As a document of where Washington state has been and where it sees itself going, it seems to struggle.