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A Portable Paradise

These are finely crafted poems, but what first strikes the reader is Roger Robinson’s capacity to tell involving stories and capture the essence of a character in a few words. A Portable Paradise is a feast to be carried by lovers of poetry wherever they go.

Author(s)
Roger Robinson
ISBN
9781845234331
Pages
82
Price
Classification
Poetry
Setting
Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom
Date published
11 Jul 2019

Roger Robinson’s range is wide: the joys and pains of family life; observations on the threatening edge of violence below the surface energies of Black British territories in London; memories of an older Trinidad and visits that tell him both how he and the country have changed; emblematic poems on the beauty and often bizarre strangeness of the world of animals; quizzical responses to the strange, the heartening, and the appalling in incidents or accounts of incidents encountered in daily life; reflections on the purposes and costs of making art, as in fine poems on a George Stubbs’ painting, cocaine and Coltrane’s Ascension, and questioning thoughts on the ideologies of Toni Morrison and John Milton.

The collection’s title points to the underlying philosophy expressed in these poems: that earthly joy is, or ought to be, just within, but is often just beyond our reach, denied by racism, misogyny, physical cruelty and those with the class power to deny others their share of worldly goods and pleasures. A Portable Paradise is not the emptiness of material accumulation, but joy in an openness to people, places, the sensual pleasures of food and the rewards to be had from the arts of word, sound and visual enticement – in short an “insatiable hunger” for life. The poems express a fierce anger against injustice, but also convey the irrepressible sense that Roger Robinson cannot help but love people for their humour, oddity and generosity of spirit.

These are finely crafted poems, but what first strikes the reader is Roger Robinson’s capacity to tell involving stories and capture the essence of a character in a few words. A Portable Paradise is a feast to be carried by lovers of poetry wherever they go.

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Roger Robinson

Roger Robinson is a writer and performer who lives between London and Trinidad. His first full poetry collection, The Butterfly Hotel, was shortlisted for The OCM Bocas Poetry Prize. He has toured extensively with the British Council and is a co-founder of both Spoke Lab and the international writing collective Malika’s Kitchen.

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