The fire next time

Written by Andre Bagoo for Newsday on Sunday, May 17th, 2020

SATAN has some of the best lines in Paradise Lost. Milton gives us, “The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” This sense of the world as idea, of reality shaped by perception, streams through Roger Robinson’s powerful book of poems A Portable Paradise, which continues to earn honours for its author.

...the book is sublimely artful. As though ignited by a world of possibilities, Robinson pursues the haibun, the limerick, the prose poem, the palinode, ekphrastic poems, septets, short poems, sprawling poems.

...A Portable Paradise betrays an artist with a wide, commanding sensibility, willing to absorb the full complexity of history and experience. Whatever the jaded critics say, it is real life that has provided everything the poet used to write this shapely and accomplished book. It all amounts to a Gothic vision of empire, made all the more terrifying because it is real.

Instead of paradise, witness hell.