Poetry. Mature and provocative, this is a stunning first book, says poet Cleopatra Mathis. TALISMANS brims with ceremonial relics and attendant epiphanies-from Jesus's hand to Elvis's wart, from a child's marvel at an ice-covered jungle gym to a lover's anguish in a formal tea garden. In the title poem, Driskell narrates a flea-market crowd's delight at the Elvis memorabilia put up for sale. The circus atmosphere spurs the crowd on to imagine what might come of cloning The King's wart. Something simple happens, writes the poet, some brief spell of ball lightning rolling through our brains... sending us on crusades, giving us the idea for Velcro, / telling us to kill our wives... / and hope that, unlike steak, we move on to Glory... There's wry humor and wisdom in the poet's detour into the contradictions that underlie everything human and sacred.