August 16, 2023
History, like “light untied and undone,” disperses itself across time and memory. The poems in Thirst & Surfeit reach into these fragments to interpret and sing interactions of human and environment, spirit and subsistence. Whether exhuming a bog body, riding swells with a woman pirate, rediscovering a long lost garden, or lofting a futile resistance to an oppressive regime, the protagonists in these poems understand that the “barest contraction / makes birth into exile.” Reclamation is a practice of resilience, of resourcefulness: that is what these historical fragments and splinters reveal. They pierce our complacency with the terms of survival: “What is real / deforms its witnesses.” Hunger signals necessity and aspiration, both thirst and surfeit. Drawing on the resources of the past, these poems make the present resonant and immediate.
Elizabeth Robinson is the author of many books of poetry, including the National Poetry Series winner, Pure Descent, and the Fence Modern Poets prize winner, Apprehend. Her book On Ghosts was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Poetry. Robinson has received grants and fellowships from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Fund for Poetry, and the Boomerang Foundation. She has been awarded residencies by the MacDowell Colony, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Maison Dora Maar. Recently, Robinson has received Editor’s Choice Awards from Scoundrel Time and New Letters. With Jennifer Phelps, she co-edited Quo Anima: Innovation and Spirituality in Contemporary Women’s Poetry, published by University of Akron Press.