What stays a marvel in this impeccable poet’s writing is her determination to bridge between the physically given world and that other we gloss with words, yet apprehend insistently as the defining presence of our lives themselves. She is in that way also a translator, reading what otherwise our “realities” would mistake. I feel a securing confidence in her poems—as though she had given me her hand and now I can follow, safe in her own attention. —Robert Creeley
Taking her cues from folktale, legend, and fable, Elizabeth Robinson has reinvented the “uses of enchantment.” Robinson calibrates the motion between fear, apprehension, and knowledge-comprehension at the crux of human imagining. She shows, with a minimalist’s precision and a logician’s attention to linguistic morphology, how the often bleak agenda of the real capitulates to the moral restitution of the true; how our need to tell stories enjambs faith and enlightenment. This is a work of uncanny persuasion. —Ann Lauterbach.
The poems in Apprehend (Fence Modern Poets Award 2002) mark a new chapter in the work of Elizabeth Robinson, who over the last few years has quietly, but unmistakably, emerged as the one of the finest poets of her generation. Apprehendamplifies the body of her previous work, with its focus on the crisis of spiritual desire, examining the insurgence, regulation, and ambiguity of eros through a brilliant re-reading of classic fairy tales. Fairy tales, she suggests, act like a subspecies of theology. Their disturbing and uncanny language appeals to our secret longing for solace and disruption. In the space that opens between these two poles we might apprehend, for a moment, the possibility of standing outside the gaze of a history which names us. To enter such a moment, though, is to face a metaphysical terror. —Patrick Pritchett, Jacket