Judith Robbins’ latest collection of poems, To Bury or Burn, sweeps
across the spectrum of life, leaving in its wake moments of joy and
grief, childhood and motherhood, poets and their poems, and the
company and loss of cats, all of it against the backdrop of the
The book is available from Amazon
from the publisher, North Country Press
from Barnes & Noble
and from most bookstores.
Seamus Heaney commandeered language as captain
of a ship who knows the power of words to direct
the vessel he sails––whether to bridle or ride the waves.
He was also a seaman who saw stains on the foredeck
and scrubbed them out in service to telling the story
clean to those who read and see and listen
happily among the hearing herd.
You have tasted poetry with a silver spoon
but have never been consumed yourself
by the need and will to write first and then
to attend the rest––cleaning, harvesting,
volunteering––seeking the infamous balance.
No. Seek un-balance. Allow the scale’s
weight to drop heavy on the side of writing
not making allowance for all else
but saving pride of place for poetry
ever first in the Muse’s intent for you.
Mary Oliver wonders
what it is
that I will accomplish
On that today for me
I write a letter to the editor
read Philip Booth and hope
he is with me in all my work.
I wash the sheets. The clean
bed awaits the quiet of night.
Holy. Holy. Holy.
You outlived many but then it was you
for whom death came, thirsty, a-search
and drinking you quickly lest the glass spill
and anything of you be lost.
As poet-survivor among your peers
the task of memorializing had fallen to you
again and again, in memory of Richard,
of Tom, of John Hewitt …
in Seeing Things; they rise again
under your pen to life for us
in poems filled with your humanity
still wholly intact.
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.
persevering through war, exile, imprisonment
and the loss of her fortune.” So writes
the translator Wendy Chen of Li Qingzhao
known for her ci––her poems set to music.
The gauntlet thrown down, I pick it up,
not having had to persevere through war,
exile, imprisonment or loss of fortune,
my cup of history and responsibilities
shouldered over many years is what
I have to offer, not that of the Chinese poet,
her life complicated by much beyond her control
but kids, they are what fills the cup
with laundry, cooking, transportation
doctoring, comforting, encouraging
daily emergence into their lives.
Notwithstanding differences––a woman’s
life is a woman’s life––I accept the challenge
of her life, and continue writing mine.