The lucid, tender poems in Ça Existe, Lauri Robertson’s fifth collection from Spuyten Duyvil, continue to unfold as a series of musings that proceed, literally, from a tower in the Loire valley, the “Garden of France.” From her new home, the poet as expatriate psychotherapist-in-retirement addresses the predicament of aging “Boomers” bearing witness to a brutally humanized but undying planet. In the words of the poet: “The funeral parlor next to the bar / is for sale. Actually, the bar is too.” We take it from there, and move onward.
André Spears, author of From the Lost Land, I-XIII
Lauri Robertson writes crisp verse, but as in wine descriptions, such terms are “really just moods.” Here are more moods: a bright room with huge windows that wash all the shadows away (“Is an empty room a preview / or from where we came?”). Not that Robertson’s lines are without darkness. But they find a home in figures of thought or in sparks of keen wit rather than self-indulgent posturing. This is a salutary restraint: “I want to live poor. Not poor poor / but rich with modesty” (there’s a hint of irony: no one wants to live poor poor, just as the poet’s economy of means disguises a wealth of them at her disposal). “I hate metaphor. I want only the actual / unembellished,” she writes; “Speak clearly,” and she seems to. But this is deceptive work: after all, “Whose language might be understood?” It’s all in the details...
Alexander Dickow, author of Appetites and Caramboles
In Lauri Robertson’s vital 5th volume, her voice is both softer and more penetrating. Bemused, confident and philosophical, she subtly integrates questions of the ages and painful themes of our time. With characteristic wit, gravity can be light and frivolity heavy, but always intimate and keenly observed. These are clear-eyed poems even for people who don’t like poetry. Memory, time passing, mortality, external and internal landscapes, animals and euphony Existe!
Lauri Robertson has written poetry for many years—Adrienne Rich was her mentor. Ça Existe! (It Exists!) is her 5th monograph. Lauri is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, formerly on the clinical faculty of Yale Medical School. She lives in New Haven, CT and Pontlevoy, France.