Selected Poems by Edwin Arlington Robinson – 3.5 Star Review

“May we who are alive be slow

To tell what we shall never know”

Line from “Exit” by Edwin Arlington Robinson

I love reading poetry, specifically for the diversity within the art. To say one reads poetry, is almost like saying one reads fiction. The category is too broad considering the many different avenues an author may take with their craft. I love novels told in verse like Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough and The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Collections of poetry that take the reader through a chronological time of the author’s life, showing growth and pivotal moments are also favorite poetic styles of mine. Such as Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur and Masquerade by Cyrus Parker. 

This collection, Selected Poems by Edwin Arlington Robinson, was a new style for me. I read it along with a postal book club that I participate in, and this book was the selection of another member. Book clubs are great for encouraging open-mindedness and I’m very pleased with being introduced to this classic American poet. Robinson lived in America during the late 1800s and early 1900s. He is a lesser known classical poet but has some vibrant gems within his collection. Themes of loss, regret, and somber reflection ring through many of his poems. 

I enjoyed his shorter pieces that had bouncy flows through them with his rhyming construction, a nice contrast to the dark solemn content. Many poems were steeped in brilliant symbolism and required multiple read throughs to appreciate the depth of his wit. I personally admired his pieces inspired from biblical texts that I grew up familiar with. 

There were some poems that became very winded, and the symbolism too dense that the meaning was lost on me. However, I found an equal amount that I loved as well. Not my typical style of poetry, but I’m glad to have encountered this new to me poet! I’d be interested to hear your favorite poets or poetic styles, comment below if you’d like to share.

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