- ISBN: 9781944380199
- Published: September 1, 2020
WINNER OF THE OTTOLINE PRIZE
Beth Roberts’ reflective, solvent poems animate a clear-eyed confrontation with the anthropocenic lyric.
Anti-nostalgic and mutagenerative, productive of thought-experience even while centered on finalities—the limitations of human purview—these poems make sound and image about image and sound at the auratic edges of individualist glamour, in a country field. Their sensuous wit and emotional availability work against and with their flinty grit.
In the holy polar vortex:
In the polar vortex we are all friends. We all are friends, for we are cold and going to be colder, and we warm to each other. After 9/11 we were friendly—actually it was more like our hatred in that thick moment agglomerated, refocused and massed into a thumbprint somewhere, not here. For a time we walked down the dirty and clean streets looking kindly into each other’s eyes.
What could happen now if we walked down the street? Going through extreme cold bares us thrillingly. Dressing for the weather is like undressing for others, and undressing for the weather is the wild. If you want to see a fox in the woods across the street, see a red fox. If you want to see your unborn, find them in the clearing and retrieve them from the cold.
Beth Roberts grew up a pastor’s kid, mostly in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For over thirty years she’s been living in the Illinois-Iowa Quad Cities. Her first book of poems, Brief Moral History in Blue, was published by New Issues in 2001. She works as the editorial director at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.