Omaha Poet Todd Robinson presents reading in Cedar City


By Nano Taggart

Todd Robinson, Omaha resident and poet read his poetry at the Artisans Art Gallery on Wednesday.

Thanks to support from the Cedar City Arts Council, Omaha poet Todd Robinson read from his works at Artisans Art Gallery at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. This reading was free and the public was invited to attend. An open Q&A and “meet and greet” reception with refreshments will follow the event.

Robinson, a larger-than-life figure affectionately known as “Toddfather” to many in his native Omaha, will have his second collection of poems published by Backwaters Press in 2018. Brent Spencer, author of The Lost Son and director of creative writing at Creighton University, notes that Robinson “writes with equal measures of wit and profundity about every moment of a life, from the tender to the tormented. His subjects are nature, pop culture, big ideas, and the tattered heart. If philosophy had a fist, it would look like a poem by Todd Robinson.”

For Robinson, the thrill of reading his work in front of a live audience never gets old. As a poet who has given hundreds of readings, you might expect the process to be routine, but that’s not the case—as Robinson points out in a 2016 interview with The Chapbook Interview: “when I’m walking toward the microphone I’m almost in a dissociative fugue, the energy barely containable. I’ve probably read two hundred times, but it’s always the same frisson:  time dilating, my heart thrashing, everything at once watery and crystalline . . . I prepare diligently for the audience’s sake, that they might enjoy my timbre and vision, but also for my own sake, because I can barely keep my hands on the tiller when I’m throttling down the whale-road of poetry.”

This event, a collaboration between Artisans Art Gallery, the Cedar City Arts Council, and Utah poetry magazine Sugar House Review, presented a terrific opportunity for writers and readers of Iron County to hear and meet a talented visiting poet in an informal, community setting.

Robinson’s poem, “Landscape, Still Life, Portrait,” first published in A Dozen Nothing, appears herein as a small sample of his exceptional work.

 

 

Landscape, Still Life, Portrait

by Todd Robinson

October here

 with its golden

cold and nostalgia

 cracking its weight

 against my hips,

the black dog

of what I once

dared to say

tagging me

through shifting

 grass, crows

 worrying fence

posts, you

 coming home,

your pillow

redolent of

something

greener than

your eyes.

I search for

a purple marker

in an empty

drawer. I want

 to draw a daylily

on your back,

write forgive me

in Palatino,

scrawl a ghazal

wherever you’ll

have it, but the

marker is gone,

and my fingers

have forgotten

their Arabic.

The garage door

moans open.

Your feet call

my name up

 the stairs,

 another dress

whispers itself

to the floor.

I study your

vellum, words

forgotten, the

poem about to happen.

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