Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ed Roberson: Atmosphere Conditions


Atmosphere Conditions, Ed Roberson (Sun & Moon, 2000)

I've got a small stack of Roberson I've been meaning to dive into, but this is the first of his "mature" volumes I've read. A lovely, very moving book. The delicate, energetic tracing of thought – tentative & recursive – social & political anomie, sensual longing, the complexities of musical & cultural lineages: all played out in precise, thoughtful, flexible forms. Begins with Olsonian meanderings, perhaps too tentative to "grab" overtly, but grows more & more powerful as it proceeds, until you close the thing wanting immediately to start all over again.

This is the first of my "100 poem-books" posts; hopefully it won't descend into mere blurb-writing. If you want your book or your friend's book to appear in the series, feel free to zap me a copy.


Anonymous said...

What a great choice to start with, Mark! Roberson is one of those poets whose work just keeps coming off the shelf for me. Voices Cast Out To Talk Us In (U of Iowa, 1995) is an astonishing book. He's got such an intricate, unusual ear -- I'm constantly caught off guard by the soundscapes he constructs. And, as you say, there's a cumulative build-up in a Roberson book that makes me want to begin the book again too.

Paul Naylor

Archambeau said...

I had a chance to read with Ed late last year in Milwaukee, and almost every adjective you apply to the writing -- delicate, energetic, tentative, thoughtful -- applies to the way he manifests in person as well. It was a treat, as was jawboning with him about his travels in Africa on the train back to Chicago.

Anonymous said...

Ditto--love Roberson's work, precisely for the reasons you and Paul cite.