Saturnalia Books, 2011
Michael Robins's second collection finds the intimate in the everyday against an often-imposing national identity. James Shea notes, "[Robins's] poems interrogate citizenship against the backdrop of violence at home and abroad—after a decade of war, where do we stand?" Yet these poems, crafted in couplets, are less "revolutionary call" and more of an exposure of both darkness and persistent moments of love and wonder. Ladies & Gentlemen takes readers to destinations across the United States, from Massachusetts Bay through Mississippi to California, ultimately arriving at "A Small Piece of Land in the Woods." From "What I was Doing About the War"
A small boy rolled his tire with a stick:
Smoke signal, telepathy, the satellites
that pin the speck of beauty to a point.
The question tore a sleeve with light.
It was no longer poetry, rather instance
for a mutual subtraction to thrive.