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Literature & Fiction - Poetry

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Stray Birds

ISBN: 9780982783863
Binding: Paperback
Author: Andrew Robin
Pages: 66
Trim: 5 x 7.5 inches
Published: 09/01/2021

Nobody writes small poems containing this much interconnected grief and joy better than Andrew Robin. Starting out in the bleak of winter with snow falling from the trees like nests and moving through the seasons with deftness and grace, these poems are peopled by those who have faded to memory and the many natural creatures who remain - especially birds, who pulse through these visual and auditory fields like comets.

Says contemporary master Kazim Ali, "These poems might be described as 'small' or 'spare' but I think 'miniature' is more accurate, because…these poems are rich with precise detail, and have finely tuned emotional resonances." Written and published during the pandemic, the interior and exterior landscapes match the voice of this time - both quiet, and urgent.

Not quite haiku, not quite Merwin, but in debt to both, the register here is both resignation and wonder, filled with emotional knowing, yearning, spaciousness and closure. Peppered among the pages are ministers and minotaurs, griffins, bombs, eggplants and persimmons, pastures, the heavens and so many birds - sparrows, swallows, hawks, hummingbirds, gulls, siskins, wrens. The richness of the vocabulary is part of the gift. And for a book that takes stock of so many things in flight, it is surprisingly rooted, grounded and filled with old, resonant wisdom.


Andrew Robin is the author of Something has to happen next, which was awarded the Iowa Poetry Prize, and Good Beast, a finalist for the Oregon Book Award in poetry, both published under his former name, Andrew Michael Roberts. He is the recipient of a Poetry Society of America National Chapbook Fellowship and a distinguished teaching award from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Andrew lives with his wife Sarah on Lopez Island in Washington State.


"Luminous, awake, and grieving, these poems find openings and move in. Once inhabited, I discover blossoms, ancestors, stillness, ease, and stars. The rest of the cosmos swirls amongst the words on the page. Whole seasons pass. This book is a translation, an end, and a song with a chorus: I am heartbroken, and so I am free." - Emily Kendal Frey