Swithering

Overview

To "swither" means to suffer indecision or doubt, but there is no faltering in these poems; any uncertainty is not in the lines or the sounds or the images, but only in the themes of flux and change and transformation that thread their way through this powerful third collection. Robin Robertson has written a book of remarkable cohesion and range that calls on his knowledge of folklore and myth to fuse the old ways with the new. From raw, exposed poems about the end of childhood to erotically charged lyrics about ...

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Swithering

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Overview

To "swither" means to suffer indecision or doubt, but there is no faltering in these poems; any uncertainty is not in the lines or the sounds or the images, but only in the themes of flux and change and transformation that thread their way through this powerful third collection. Robin Robertson has written a book of remarkable cohesion and range that calls on his knowledge of folklore and myth to fuse the old ways with the new. From raw, exposed poems about the end of childhood to erotically charged lyrics about the end of desire, from a brilliant retelling of the metamorphosis and death of Actaeon to the final freeing of the waters in "Holding Proteus," these are close examinations of nature—of the bright epiphanies of passion and loss.
At times sombre, at times exultant, Robertson's poems are always firmly rooted in the world we see, the life we experience: original, precise, and startlingly clear.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR ROBIN ROBERTSON
"Each poem comes to us so cleansed of excess, so concentrated and perfectly pared down to its essence we can only wonder at the adamantine sharpness of its edges."-BILLY COLLINS

"The genius of this Scots poet is for finding the sensually charged moment-in a raked northern seascape, in a sexual or gustatory encounter-and depicting it in language that is simultaneously spare and ample."-THE NEW YORKER

New York Review of Books - John Banville
"Robertson's genius for exact and gorgeous imagery, his dazzling metaphorical gift, and the knottiness of his thinking ... runs through the syntax of the verse like a bead of Metaphysical quicksilver."
New York Review of Books
"Robertson's genius for exact and gorgeous imagery, his dazzling metaphorical gift, and the knottiness of his thinking ... runs through the syntax of the verse like a bead of Metaphysical quicksilver." —John Banville
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156031998
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/3/2006
  • Pages: 106
  • Sales rank: 1,228,352
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Robertson is a 30-year veteran food writer, cooking teacher, and chef specializing in vegan and vegetarian cooking. She is the author of 20 vegetarian or vegan cookbooks, including Vegan Planet and 1,000 Vegan Recipes , and is a regular columnist for VegNews magazine and VegCooking.com. She operates a vegan-focused website and blog at RobinRobertson.com.

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Table of Contents

The park drunk 3
Trysts 4
At dawn 5
What the horses see at night 6
Primavera 8
Cusp 9
The eel 10
The death of Actaeon 12
Swimming in the woods 18
Drowning in Co. Down 19
Ghost of a garden 20
Selkie 21
Between the harvest and the hunter's moon 22
Old ways 25
Entry 26
Samhain 27
Still life with cardoon and carrots 28
Strindberg in London 29
The glair 31
Strindberg in Paris 32
Heel of bread 33
Entropy 34
Sea-fret 35
Myth 40
New York spring 43
The lake at dusk 44
A seagull murmur 46
Calcutta, Co. Armagh 47
Mar-hawk 48
The catch 49
Actaeon : the early years 50
To my daughters, asleep 55
Firesetting 56
Siesta 57
La stanza delle Mosche 58
Lizard 59
Ode to conger-eel broth 60
Asparagus 63
On Pharos 64
Manifest 65
Untitled (51) 66
Net 68
Crossing the archipelago 70
Bow 71
Rainmaker 72
The custom-house 73
Leavings 74
Donegal 75
Trumpeter swan 76
Answers 77
Holding Proteus 78
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