Tuesday, May 16, 2006



One Thousand Years by Corinne Robins, with art by Joyce Romano
(Marsh Hawk Press, New York, 2004)

As a respected art critic, Corrine Robins clearly sees the lines and shadows in her world and communicates those visions in poetry. Poetry lovers will find a rare symmetry within these free form poems. Enhancing and complementing Ms. Robins' poetry is artwork by Joyce Romano.

Robins' references to 9/11 are haunting, interwoven as they are with the atrocities of a thousand years in time. From the burning of St. Joan d'Arc to the Crusades, to those "flying buttresses" that murdered innocents on 9/11, the message varies little. This excerpt from "One Thousand Years" compacts her message into three brief lines:

while you build your fortresses high,
the saints dance and the devil
waits outside a thousand years.

And again in "Bringing Down the Sky" we are mesmerized by beautiful words that tell a harrowing story:

The day's air has a different weight.
Released into the singeing wind,
the lure at liberty, bright-eyed
peregrine having no mercy,
flies to that sound,
that trust beyond touch
making the sky her reach.

"Love Games" exemplifies that rare poetic symmetry I mentioned at the beginning of this review. The Medieval resonance and rhythm of Ms. Robins' words here prompted me to read this poem aloud, more than once. I chose one excerpt to prove my point:

Sigh, sighing through the cold winds,
loving the flowering flowers,
we will have poetry
and be wary of priests who talk of God
and swear against the love of men,
swear their hatred of the pregnant spring
and hatred of old castles in Angevin.

"Galileo's Daughter" has the same impact. The poet's words bring life and reality to times we had perhaps forgotten:

Would birds lose their bearing
in midair? His thoughts fly upward.
His experiments are always perfect –
I see the rounding sky, the rough-faced moon,
and where the planets are stairs
proving if heaven is a house or a mighty city
it lies above my father's stars.

One critic stated of Ms. Robins that "…the pageantry and personae she evokes are not locked in the past, but alive in the flux and imagination of our own present." I could not have said it better. Corinne Robins, assisted by the thought-provoking art of Joyce Romano, weaves ancient and modern into a fine blend. Her work is distinctive and highly recommended.


Laurel Johnson is a Retired Registered Nurse and the author of four books. She is Senior Reviewer for Midwest Book Review; Review Editor for New Works Review; Staff Reviewer for Shadow Poetry Quill Quarterly Review and occasional submitting reviewer for The Wandering Hermit Review and Irish News and Entertainment. Her poetry and prose can be found online in various literary e-zines. She lives in Nebraska with her husband of forty years.


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