“Blue Collar Daughters” to Read

On Sunday, March 18, 2018, Judith Robbins will join poets Claire Hersom and Susann Pelletier for a reading of their poems and conversation about poetry in their lives.

This event, dubbed “Blue Collar Daughters,” is the first in a monthly series of community poetry and conversations sponsored by L/A Arts.The event will take place between 2 and 4 p.m. in the L/A Arts Gallery, 221 Lisbon St., Lewiston.

A donation of $4 is suggested, and there will be light fare offered. The poets’ books will be available for sale.


Why the Tears?

I sat across the table from you
leaking tears and talking, talking
trying to put my finger on why I wept
and felt embarrassed in a class where we
discussed the abuse of women and girls.

The tears began as I tried to articulate the need
for awareness of all those who at that moment
(when we were discussing their situations
in a much removed room at divinity school)
were alone in their abuse, with no relief in sight.

Trying to discern the reason for tears
while explaining to you the sense of distance
I felt between me and my body,
me and my skin, even while the invitation
to fill that space hung in the air.

What else would God do but weep? you said.
I rode your words bareback into that space
where compassion closed the gap. I felt
how the heart of God is the part of how
we are one with ourselves and with each other.

In Adam’s Fall We Sinned All

Mommy, come and look at this,
my son called from the back door stoop.

I can’t. I’m busy. What have you got?
His answer lost in the distance between us

I called out louder, What have you got?
A bee. He’s walking on my cheek. See?

Blinded by dishes piled up to the brink
of my mind mired down in mashed potato

I called from the sink, Probably a fly,
and chose not to walk to the stoop

where he sat waiting. In that moment
of meanness, the bee stung; starving

children bit the dust, the nails in our house
began to rust, and Jack Benny died.

And my son cried out, pouring tears,
healing rain, onto the infinite desert of sin.

The Bookbinder’s Wife

North Country Press in Unity, Maine, will publish my second collection of poems entitled The Bookbinder’s Wife in late fall 2017.

My first collection, The North End, is still available from the publisher, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and can be ordered from any bookstore. Included in the new collection will be new poems from the North End, the neighborhood in Worcester, Mass., where I grew up. Below is one of those poems …

Prescott Street

A post card came today––
a black horse with snow on its muzzle.
In the bottom left corner

Black Ice, Publishers
One Hundred Prescott Street
Worcester, Mass.

I am carried back by the black horse
to a canyon of brick echoing the click
of my child shoes as I walked home

alone from Saturday Mass, when
dread hung from factory windows,
where nobody worked on weekends.

It was a tomb, a gauntlet from Grove
to North. I walked with my heart
in my throat and tried to whistle.

The envelope company’s tractorless
trailers hunched against the brick
buildings, watching me as I walked past

over the tracks where sometimes a train
car stood solemnly waiting for Monday
to couple with one of its kind.

Faster past the electric transformer
fenced in by Danger. High Voltage.
Keep Out. Johnny Tripoldi didn’t

and he was killed. His house was across
from the cemetery with its order and
beauty of grass and stone and avenues

named for trees: elm, spruce maple.
I turned left onto North Street:
Noise, dogs, dirt, kids––home.

The North End: Spotlight Interview

The link below will take you to a Spotlight Interview on the Annie’s Book Stop Web site. The interview, which features questions about the writing of The North End and about my writing life, is in anticipation of the reading and signing of the book that will take place at the store at 65 James St., Worcester, MA, on April 2, 2017, from 2-4 p.m.

I look forward to seeing you at the reading.