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Lisa Robertson

2021 Season

Lisa Robertson read her poetry at the ‘T’ Space’s Virtual Synthesis of the Arts Opening Celebration on August 21, 2021.

“When it comes to poetry, I’m for the vibration of sweetness. But apart from this astonished plasticity, I usually can’t recall what a poem is. I don’t feel its task is to solve anything. It seems more suited to the occupation of an open complexity. I move across rather than with the grain of language to better experience the strange, spirited textures, the tender irony of its sudden turns and redoublings, to seek the mouthfeel of somebody else’s diction. This curious empathy leads to an emotion of form, but not without awkward pauses and stumbles, a slapstick which all the while suggests a particularity of duration, occasionally melody. I’m trying to listen for that, whatever my situation—reading walking gardening conversing travelling—which means wasting a lot of time. The poet, she does have a task: to waste as much time as possible, while seeking a shapeliness for her squandering. This constitutes a tiny resistance without determining outcomes. At best this double task would touch upon some unsuspected communal pleasure. Then I could contribute to the long comedy of newness.”

– Lisa Robertson 2018


Poet Lisa Robertson was born in Toronto in 1961. She currently lives in rural France and frequently travels to teach and lecture.

Robertson is known for working in book-length projects. Her subject matter includes political themes, such as gender and nation, as well as the problems of form and genre; she has written works that explore literary forms such as the pastoral, epic, and weather forecast. Her books of poetry include XEclogue (1993);

Debbie: An Epic (1997), nominated for a Governor General’s Award; The Weather (2001), which Robertson wrote during her Judith E. Wilson fellowship at Cambridge University; The Men (2006); and R’s Boat (2010). Her architectural essays are collected in Occasional Works and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture (revised ed. 2010), and she has published a work of prose essays, Nilling (2012).

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