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Ladies & Gentlemen
Michael Robins

2011 • 88 pp. 5 1/2 x 7 1/2"

$14.00 Paperback, 978-0-9833686-0-1

Like a circus barker at the dawn of the apocalypse, award winning poet Michael Robins brings his special brand of gallows humor to new collection.

With lushness and a perplexity reminiscent of Wallace Stevens, the poems of Michael Robins’ second collection blend allusion—from late-20th century rock lyrics to the Gettysburg Address—and negotiate feeling amid a troubled history of the United States. These persistent, cunning voices claim prey and hunter alike: whether a tortured prisoner or the nation’s first colonists who might coexist among the indigenous populations if their “arms could hold steady,” but instead take aim by spreading disease to “the kind people of the new country.” Ladies & Gentlemen is an invitation to the spectacle—and spectral—of American life, where the plugs of ordinary billboards are as probable as the horrors suffered when any people are under siege. John Yau writes, “With the precision of a diamond cutter, Michael Robins taps into the harsh murmurs of the daily world.”

“As its title intimates, Ladies & Gentlemen proceeds with a seething civility and Robins’ measured couplets, a failing brace, belie the aggressions we've suffered and inflicted as a nation. His poems interrogate citizenship against the backdrop of violence at home and abroad—after a decade of war, where do we stand? Robins’ answer is not easy: "difficult to stand if standing / is stance, the wedge between citizen & me." These poems speak to us "beyond our spangles,” seeking and even finding intimacy amid the ruins of empire.” —James Shea

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

From the Book:

Mended Sonnet

Whitsun, it was that elegance. It was
doubtless, less of the tree line evident.

when we were living in it. Drunkenly
reckoned over end, hanging by the ledge,

you never broke every bone in your hand.
Equation was neither a friend. Neither

suture, a picket fence absolved like flesh.
It was, in lieu of Sunday, the instance

leaving its name behind. Listing it was.
Nurtured, the last fish we ever caught

refusing the boat like a remainder.
It was our residence in drag. It was

chanced upon, wistful as a flower spent.
Like a part you missed, you’ve already left.

MICHAEL ROBINS is the author of The Next Settlement, which received the Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, and the chapbook Circus.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:06:48 -0500