“American Self Portrait,” the poem beginning Dean Rader’s Landscape Portrait Figure Form, introduces with considerable urgency the book’s interest in living and writing deliberately as an American poet. With a mouthful of bravado, the poem speaks almost exclusively in imperatives, demanding the materials of national portraiture:
Give me the sheriff star pinned to the mermaid
and that tiny piece of wood from your throat.
Give me the saw blade, the plastic cat’s eye.
Give me the flash drive of your tongue.