Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Elizabeth Robinson: Apostrophe

So, back from Chicago this afternoon – a lovely time with old friends, a high degree of meat consumption, some very satisfying mandolin-strumming, & even some talk about poetry – just in time to leave tomorrow afternoon for Tennessee (ie, God's Country). There may be a weekish hiatus in the blog, not that anyone's on the edge of their seat.
Apostrophe, Elizabeth Robinson (Apogee, 2006)


Robinson is prolific – I know I've read several of her books & chapbooks, there are at least a half-dozen I've never laid eyes on. I suppose for me one of the most compelling elements in the 2 or 3 generations of poets that have come in the wake of Language Poetry has been the attempt to reinvent the religious poem, the poem addressing the numinous. (Cf. the "Apex of the M" phenomenon, and maybe that's one of the big things at stake somehow in the celebrated Watten/Duncan dustup of 1978.) Robinson does it as compellingly as anyone I know. The poems of Apostrophe seem to breathe a kind of oblique faith, an openness to the divine less Christian or even Buddhist than simply, delicately gnostic. Few big gestures here – an unruffled surface of language chosen with almost obsessive care – but very lovely nonetheless.

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