In Green

Description

68 pages
$12.00
ISBN 1-55071-154-7
DDC C811'.6

Publisher

Year

2002

Contributor

Reviewed by Beryl Baigent

Beryl Baigent is a poet; her published collections include Absorbing the
Dark, Hiraeth: In Search of Celtic Origins, Triptych: Virgins, Victims,
Votives, and Mystic Animals.

Review

In Green is Robin Blackburn’s first collection of poetry. In this
slender volume of 30 poems, the author folds her shorter pieces around a
long poem called “Seth” that takes centre stage (on page 33).
Obviously the hinge of the book, this poem retells in contemporary terms
the Egyptian myth of Osiris and his brother Seth, and their rivalry over
Osiris’s wife, the green goddess Isis. It is Isis who walks away from
the concrete and stones in the illustration by Hono Lulu that appears on
the book’s front cover.

The first poem, “Egg,” sets the scene with “the violence of
beginnings.” The title poem, “In Green,” completes the collection,
hinting at the longing for birth and rebirth, as in nature and myth. The
poet is repeatedly stepping back “over the raised doorsills of time”
in an effort to “know better where [she] came from.” Inspired by
myths, stories, and photographs, she searches out the detail and
synchronicity. Like her ancestor, a great grandmother who vanished and
travels “only through the blood now,” the protagonist “never runs
from anything.” In an outstanding villanelle, Blackburn confesses
“To live I wear my choices on the wind.”

One poem informs the reader “I was born aware of the lines,” but
just as one sees the poet’s balance in the “Light and shadow” on
which she comments, we identify the complementary opposite to
“lines” in her images of roses, cocoons, and in the “Split in the
Round.”

Like a true poet, Blackburn sees life in metaphors. She has an
appreciation of simple language and poetic devices that will be admired
by other poets and at the same time will draw the average reader to her
work. In Green is recommended to all who wish to explore women’s
mysteries or study their ancestors “for traces of themselves.”

Tags

Citation

Blackburn, Robin., “In Green,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/17766.