Few stories come to us with such exquisite, tormenting balance. That is what this epic poem, The Most Secret Window by Natalie Vanderbilt, is all about: balancing passions and ambition. Set in 1910, San Francisco and Maine, it presents the story of shipping magnate, Grayson, whose life is of unforgiving structure and responsibility. His shipping empire is under constant attack, his real-time woman is beautiful and emotionally remote with a steely heart and her own agenda. His best friend and business lieutenant lacks the imaginative depth to commiserate with his heartache. Only in his dreams, in the seductive, compassionate arms of his Maine lover, Lara, whom he has never met, is Grayson able to find expansive love and serenity.
Though Vanderbilt's zest for jarring, brutal action scenes periodically shocks us, though the San Francisco she paints is weirdly fascinating, it is the lovers themselves who compel us to read on. There is an elusive urgency in human emotion that few writers are really successful in fully recognizing and bringing to life in poems. Vanderbilt is one of the few.