Robin Robertson's fourth collection is an intense, moving, bleakly lyrical, and at times shocking book. These poems are written with the authority of classical myth, yet sound utterly contemporary. The poet's gaze--whether on the natural world or the details of his own life-- is unflinching and clear, its utter seriousness leavened by a wry, dry, and disarming humor.
Alongside fine translations from Neruda and Montale and dynamic retellings of stories from Ovid, the poems here pitch the power and wonder of nature against the frailty and failure of the human. This is a book of considerable grandeur and sweep that confirms Robertson as one of the most arresting and powerful poets at work today.
"Robertson's fourth collection is astonishing in its eclecticism..." Publishers Weekly "There's a drama and majesty here that also teaches us a lesson: That a writer, a poet especially, has the power to make an act of recovery. In "Leaving St. Kilda" Robertson recalls all those unique, old names (and who, by the way, first named them?) before they're lost — before the clouds stream over them, as they do over Mullach Mòr, and they're forgotten. Elsewhere in this somber, beautiful collection, Robertson does the same with smaller, fleeting moments of insight as his speakers confront the passing of time — how, for instance, in "Landfall," the "crates that once held herring,/ freshly dead, now hold distance, nothing but the names/ of the places I came from, years ago." Los Angeles Times