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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Robin Gabbert’s Diary of a Mad Poet: Poems is her first anthology of poetry, filled with emotion as she tackles themes of pain, healing, loss, recovery, joy, grief, friendship, and family. Time is no barrier as her verses talk about the past and the near present. Written in two parts, the first part is largely composed of poems that she wrote in her youth, an attempt at recreating the handwritten poems that she lost in a fire a few years ago. The second part is poems she wrote after that devastating fire—verses that have been conceived from the memories of its fallout that pound a nasty persistence of remembrance that will never go away. These poems are expressions of the human will to stand up and keep fighting, and most of all, to write for another day.
Robin Gabbert’s poetry profoundly captures her ardent desire for living and continues to address truths in the fewest words through figurative language, phrases, and rhythm. It’s therapeutic not only for Gabbert but for her readers as well. It’s as if her painful experience made it difficult for her to enunciate her emotions through ordinary language, and thus she found refuge in poetry as a form of healing discourse. Gabbert is a poet of extraordinary feelings with an occasional blend of witty and paranoiac observation. I can understand how she feels and thinks in The Subtle Knife, because I have become slightly aichmophobic in dealing with cutlery as I have often, by accident, cut myself a number of times. Diary of a Mad Poet is poetic expression at its finest. Gabbert has renewed her life through the power of artistic imagination, and reading her anthology gives you that same effect.