Winner of the 2017 A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry
The ecological is personal; the personal is ecological. Rag Cosmology is a pulsating meditation on this most intimate relationship. These poems inject pleasure deep into the tissues of our language and state, countering fatalist narratives with the intimacy of entanglement and engagement.
Green extravagant mind wet and moving
two weeks ago I arrived here
simply to shake in the green plosions
Watch the Book Launch and Reading:
Praise for Rag Cosmology:
“Have you ever had the feeling of being spoken by a branch, a dress, a late slant of light? Then open this book for deeper information about how sensing and moving among the world’s elements is a cosmic work of images, where touching is a kind of seeing, and thinking is a kind of kissing. For Erin Robinsong, being in language together is a chosen act of joy, a refusal of the imposed debt and dross of the bankers. These poems walk into largesse.” —Lisa Robertson
“Rag Cosmology is spellbinding. The poems in this stunning debut collection are acrobatic and kinetic, alive with immediacy and sensuality. Experimental in design, yet deeply resonant and familiar in subject matter, Erin Robinsong writes with skillful chiaroscuro, bringing light into darkness, and darkness into light. Reading this collection felt like a breathless game of hide-and-seek—playful, thrilling and haunting, too.” —Ruth Ozeki
“Robinsong strews behind her punchlines of attention, each one a call to do the work of this present moment. She rubs the animal words against her experience until she can’t recognize them any longer, until the separations they used to conjure disappear. Sex is never far, these words are also a way of touching and being touched, an ecology of creatures that smile even when the passing is violent and sad.” —Mike Hoolboom
“Erin Robinsong’s long-desired debut, Rag Cosmology is an ecopoethic and turbulent swanlovesong of the personal and mutual. “Do you think our bodies are the only way?” Rag Cosmology sloughs off the dry skin of a 20th-century environmentalist movement’s shame-tactic, revealing a 21st’s poetry’s gold-leafed anus as a will to become-with all that surrounds an ecocentric, curious, and enveloping awe.” —angela rawlings
Press Coverage for Rag Cosmology:
“This debut explores an intimacy of ecological identities as wild, sensual and rhythmic as the cosmos.” —Canisia Lubrin, The Globe and Mail
“Sex and nature cannot be compartmentalized. Life and pleasure cannot be separated. The poems in Rag Cosmology remind us that we are all part of the world’s constant intercourse.” —Domenica Martinello, Canadian Notes and Queries
“Gratifying and bold, Robinsong’s poems vibrate as the reader is implicated in the lushness of the cosmos, nature, and the self.” —Gillian Sze, Montreal Review of Books
“Robinsong’s poetry is not here to assuage fears of environmental crisis; rather, its intent is to make one realize that one is living in the midst of one.” —Terry Abrams, Wildness
“In many ways, the structural variety throughout the book is the glue that bonds the collection together, allowing the different elements of [Robinsong’s] explorations through poetry to interact. One might even say: the performance aspect is key.” —rob mclennan’s blog
“The ecological perspectives Rag Cosmology grounds itself in offers a way to understand the personal within the context of the broader life processes we cannot but be part of. Reading it offers a way to richly imagine the natural world and better understand our place within it.” —Alan Reed, Vallum Magazine, Vallum 14:2
“In contrast to T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, where nothing connects with nothing, Robinsong’s writing connects everything with everything, no matter how hallucinogenic or absurd the outcome.” —Camilla Nelson, The Goose
“A startling debut that combines an ecological interest with fragmentary, falling lines.” —Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press
Rag Cosmology by Erin Robinsong —Review by Aaron Boothby —Debutantes
On Writing with Erin Robinsong —Open Book
“While formal experimentation is a major cog in Robinsong’s work, it is her pristine motions of thought, both outward and inward, that makes her crystalline craft tick.” —Drawn and Quarterly Blog (Summer Reads 2017: Benjamin’s Picks)
‘Inside its surround’: October Poem-of-the-Month —Montreal Review of Books
‘Late Prayer” by Erin Robinsong —Metatron: Alpha blog
Klara du Plessis in Conversation with Erin Robinsong —Carte Blanche
“Twirling like a dervish, these poems remind us of life’s vast richness, alert us to the dangers of unfettered capitalism, then carry on dancing regardless.” —Arc Poetry Magazine
Jurors’ Comments for the A.M Klein Prize for Poetry:
This exuberant and extraordinary debut, in all its nervy, nimble, startled seeing, becomes the “very large intimacy” it praises.
Rooted in the fecund scent of nature, of mulch and loam and decay, as well as growth and light and life, Rag Cosmology is as politically aware as it is lyrically aware. So varied in form and content that it seems as though it might fly apart at any moment, either exploding from the pressure driving it within or imploding from under the gravity that holds it all together.
It is always refreshing to read a poet in love with words, but thrilling to read one that trusts the flexing, fertile spaces between.
Erin Robinsong is a poet and interdisciplinary artist. Her work has appeared in numerous Canadian journals and anthologies, and onstage at the &NOW Festival of New Writing, The Conference on Ecopoetics, Tangente Danse and others. With longtime collaborator Andréa de Keijzer, she is featured in Mike Hoolboom’s film We Make Couples, a Marxist love story. Erin has an MFA from the University of Guelph, is a recipient of the Irving Layton Award for Poetry, and has been nominated for a KM Hunter Award. She has driven horse carriages, sold knives, restored books for a living, and is currently a teacher and editor. Originally from Cortes Island, Erin lives in Toronto & Montréal. Rag Cosmology is her debut collection.