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Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite
The Stygian Wild by Child Robins is an elegantly brutal collection of alternately clever and bitter poetry that surprises and intrigues at every turn. Just when the reader thinks he or she has got Child Robins figured out, a new voice emerges to take the stage and points the experience in a whole new direction. Child Robins is angry, cynical, tender, nostalgic, analytical, romantic, obsessed, possessed, tormented, seductive, coy, direct, obtuse, embattled, anesthetized, militant and generous, all within the space of a few stanzas - the key is in the juxtaposition of contrasting flavors and images and the constant presence of the unexpected. The overall effect is dazzling - like a competitive bodybuilder in an evening gown: a bit off-putting at first, but ultimately mind-expanding and indelible.
As its title suggests, The Stygian Wild exists on the margent between hedonistic epic hero adventure and stultifying spirit death, often in rapid succession. Consider the contrast between the vast landscape of Wanderlust - “the lava took its natural course windward/the lightning and the falling star/barely missed us all/on cobblestone streets, the wind flute/permeated and cooled the humid nights” - and the oxygen-deprived, listless low-pressure system of “in bed”: “sloth/sloth is all i want/sloth and poems.” One would think this to be the work of two unrelated writers, except for the connective crystalline clarity behind the contrasting images - the hallmark of the accomplished poet.
If you like your poetry tidy, crack open a volume of Ogden Nash or Eve Merriam and have a field day. If, on the other hand, you crave pith and moment, take advantage of any opportunity to read and re-read Child Robins’ The Stygian Wild. Dig in and hang on - the poetic road to Hades had been artfully and masterfully mapped in Robins’ eclectic and disturbingly familiar verse. Wonderful work. I enjoyed this thoroughly.