This year's winner of the 1998 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition is Craig Arnold's Shells, which was acclaimed as "a gifted collection of daring writing" by the contest judge, the distinguished poet W. S. Merwin. The book is an intriguing set of variations on the theme of identity. Arnold plays on the idea of the shell as both the dazzling surface of the self and a hard case that protects the self against the assaults of the world. His poems narrate amatory and culinary misadventures. "Friendships based on food," Arnold writes, "are rarely stable"--this book is full of wildly unstable and bewitching friendships and other significant relations.