Laps is the winner of the 1984 Juniper Prize, the annual poetry award sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Press. The book is a sequence of poems in 32 sections written in the voice of a swimmer engaged in a half-mile swim. Blumenthal sees swimming as an act of rhythm and purification, of immersion and transformation, of exile, initiation, and return. His poems have an extraordinary combination of brightness and depth. They record a complex pattern of rhythms, a motion somewhere between incantation and prayers, between sport and ritual, between wakefulness and sleep, between our terrestrial life and the aquatic species we evolve from.