Join us at 7pm Thursday, June 1 at Fact and Fiction for a reading with Richard Robbins who will be reading from his book of poetry, The Oratory of All Souls.
Richard Robbins was raised in California and Montana, taught in Minnesota for many years, and recently moved back west to Oregon. Robbins has received awards or residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Society of America, the Anderson Center, Willapa Bay AiR, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers. From 1986 to 2014, he directed the Good Thunder Reading Series at Minnesota State Mankato, which the Minnesota Humanities Commission called, “the premier small-town reading series in the country.”
The poems in The Oratory of All Souls center themselves in fundamental human concerns, especially those connected to personal and community suffering. Their sources are memory, the historical moment, the local objects that compose each, and the “terrible love of our imagination” that makes them new in language. In these poems, the speakers map roads into and out of grief, adopting the role of lover, father, citizen searching for insight or the right way to live. Finally, it becomes a book about breaking and mending, injury and forgiveness, and about our search for resurrection in, and of, daily life.
The Oratory of All Souls might also have been called by the title of one of the book’s most powerful poems, “The Great Litany.” This book, taken in its entirety, is truly a great litany. It encompasses us all. It is moving because it is so
inclusive, so unwilling to turn away from the world as it really is in all its aspects, grief-stricken as well as glorious.The book is a kind of prayer. If we read it as such, we come away feeling blessed, inspired, and consoled.
—Jim Moore, author of Prognosis
Part balm, part prayer, part revelation, the quietly moving and incantatory poems in Richard Robbins’s The Oratory of All Souls reveal a poetic voice that is masterful, adept, and profoundly compelling. These supple poems unfold seamlessly, with the muscular music of moving water: elegant, clear, fierce. Robbins has the gaze of a painter, with a gorgeous insistence on image, line, shadow, and light.
—Lee Ann Roripaugh, author of tsunami vs. the fukushima 50