The poems in Angel Riding a Beast are the stunning expression of the Romanian poet Liliana Ursu's years in America. The sadness and paradoxes of exile and the clarity of a cross-cultural awareness become for Ursu the psychological and descriptive framework for poems infused with the emotion and images of erotic longing and spiritual loneliness. The combination of elegy and wit in the poems of Ovid, the poet of exile with whom Ursu claims kinship, is evident in her poetry as well. Always conscious of both her new American freedom and the remorselessness of time and death, Ursu explores the American landscape through "the sad aura of those coming from Eastern Europe / as if from some kind of inferno." She displays remarkable insight into America's often formless and shallow "society of consumers," and yet her newly Americanized vision also allows her to reimagine and reevaluate her life and her country. The alienating repression of recent Romanian history has led Romanian poets, with Ursu as a source of inspiration for their almost violent intensity of language, to resist and penetrate all boundaries and limits, whether political, ideological, or aesthetic. The sympathy of her cultural observations and the physicality of her poetic images and the desires that inform them give Ursu's poems an affecting and universal perspective in which disperate experience and places coalesce in a singular human landscape.