Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Robin Chapman's latest collection of poetry, Abundance, is the winner of the 2007 Cider Press Review Book Award for good reason: Chapman's gift for seeing the human dimension of the natural world drips lushly from every page. Throughout the collection, Chapman's poetry insists that the wonders of the natural world not only demand that we view the world through new eyes on a daily basis, but it also allows her readers to recognize the striking similarity between ourselves and the world that surrounds us. This is especially the case in "The Evolution of Sleep" in which the poet traces the all-so human enjoyment of spooning with a loved one in bed to the primitive instinct that drives alligators to seek each other's company for warmth. Yet Chapman is careful never to slip too far into a romanticized vision of nature; indeed, in "What the Eye Supplies," she endeavors with great care to interrogate the relationship between nature as it is and nature as we interpret it. In many ways, this is the tension that runs throughout Abundance. That is, by exploring the relationship between humanity and nature, Chapman gives us perspective enough to recognize that what we see is not necessarily what is, and that in the big picture, we are ourselves as animal as we are human.

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