In For, the first volume in the New California Poetry series, Snow continues her vast and original poetic project of defining the relationship among art, life, and the acts of perception that define and limit those terms. If there is "subject matter" —an elusive term when one is talking about Snow's writing—it is the play between memory and moment.
Here is work that makes innovative use of autobiographical material, in finely wrought and highly sculpted poetry of great integrity, power, and subtlety. The kinship For has with Eastern thought and poetic forms extends to the fact that, like the poetry of Tu Fu, it has a depth charge of spare style. Among American writers, Snow's antecedents include Elizabeth Bishop and George Oppen.
For synthesizes something classical and ancient—the need to observe cleanly and to represent a thing simply and with force. Snow forges new and remarkable poetry by combining traditions that once seemed incompatible—the materials of life and a purely aesthetic, experimental style.