These poems are daring, challenging in tone, at moments enigmatic. They move wonderfully in and out of figurative flight and let plain statement take over in unexpected places, often turning up a surprise topic. They don’t pretend not to suffer, but they don’t brood. Cued by its title, this collection explores everything implied in Stevens’s “I wish that I might be a thinking stone.” Etched by thinking, here is an aesthetic to offset chagrin and disappointment, aging, and sympathies with other beings that would otherwise be too intense.
What I love—and there are so many things to love—most about Lauri Robertson’s An Aesthetic of Stone is how wildly abandoned it is, how funny it is, and how—in poem after poem—one senses a wholly new way how rumination works and shows us how we negotiate who we are, what we have lost and where we stand, particularly in this exact and fragile time of being alive. There are, also, in this wonderful first collection, so many ways of inventing the truth, along with so many voices to get us there. They are hard won poems, of course, but they are written down with such a shameless sense of wonder, that I couldn’t stop being surprised. Happy and surprised.
…much to admire…thoughtful, full of breath and affection for the details that populate a life.
Lauri Robertson has written poetry for many years—Adrienne Rich was her mentor. She is a psychiatrist/psychoanalyst formerly on the clinical faculty of Yale Medical School. She’s also a fine art photographer, represented on Nantucket Island by The Gallery at Four India:
An Æsthetic of Stone is inspired by life in rural France.