Book: Swithering (Robin Robertson)

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Book:

Swithering

Author: Robin Robertson
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Publisher: Picador

To “swither” means to suffer indecision or doubt, but there is no faltering in these poems; any uncertainty is not in the lines or the sounds or the images, but only in the themes of flux and change and transformation that thread their way through this powerful third collection.

Robin Robertson has written a book of remarkable cohesion and range that calls on his knowledge of folklore and myth to fuse the old ways with the new. From raw, exposed poems about the end of childhood to erotically charged lyrics about the end of desire, from a brilliant retelling of the metamorphosis and death of Actaeon to the final freeing of the waters in “Holding Proteus,” these are close examinations of nature—of the bright epiphanies of passion and loss.

At times sombre, at times exultant, Robertson’s poems are always firmly rooted in the world we see, the life we experience: original, precise, and startlingly clear.

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