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Todd Robinson lives and writes in Omaha, Nebraska. His poems have appeared most recently in Margie, Potomac Review, and Mankato Poetry Review. He teaches at Creighton University and in the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
The Lunar Cycle of Cabbage
I’ve been sitting in this waiting room
There, in some sunless crater, the tribe
The nurse jostles me alert, tells me
I watched you snake an arm into the nest,
It nested in my palm, heavy with yolk
At ground zero our glee soured--
I wake up at three thinking how far
T.S. Eliot’s Defunct
He could pray
[Todd Robinson on “T.S. Eliot’s Defunct”: I began to write this piece shortly after reading Marilyn Nelson’s “Emily Dickinson’s Defunct” (From The Vintage Book of African American Poetry), a poem which strives both to humanize and to complicate the sainted Amherst poet, using well-known lines from her work as counterpoints to earthy, humble images of Dickinson’s body and daily activities. Like Nelson, I peek beneath my subject’s clothes (literal and figurative) to expose the human being and his human failings, too often obscured by the anthologized context in which we encounter great poets. The images and ideas throughout are contrapuntal, aimed at revealing the layers of contradictions in him and in his work; for instance, I juxtapose Eliot’s godliness with his anti-Semitism, his depersonalized poetics with his personal life (in a letter he once thanked his mother for sending him orange pekoe tea), and his yearning to be English with his inescapable American-ness (hence “England’s favorite/stepson”). Thanks to Dru Wall for switching the second and third stanzas and for other revisions--she is my Ezra.
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Last Updated: Sun, August 6, 2006
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