Tender, turbulent, witty, elegiac, Quarry Cross
is a refreshment to the spirit. Robin Behn shakes out the language to fathom what she calls “the old harms” and “the needy needs”—those very forces that may shatter any of us. She writes of the beauty and potential festering of desire. However serious her subject matter, the marvelous vitality of her voice summons us to the prospect of pleasure. These are bold, mutinous, world-and-word-enchanted poems. —Lee Upton
Robin Behn takes Theodore Roethke’s credo—“I’ll make a broken music, or I’ll die”—to heart in Quarry Cross.
With a “shattered” yet sane sensibility that seems straight out of the bardo, Behn writes on the doorstep of what she calls “the Office of the Starving Particular” where “suffering weighs what it weighed / before you ever got here,” “a twin thing you wake with your mouth around.” In poem after poem, she writes with cypher-like wizardry. Her muse possesses her, commandeering her voice to intone a poetry that is spell-binding, haunting, risible, playful, heroic, and vatic all at once. Just how she manages to witness with such sublime authority the strange terrain of grief’s surreal reality betrays the mystery of both her originality and craft. Few other poets writing today succeed as Behn does in Quarry Cross
in transporting their readers from the familiar terrain of their daily lives to the oneiric realm of their deepest human places.
Paperback: 110 pp.
Publisher: Madhat, Inc. (March 1, 2018)