Robin Stratton is our quirky and often hilarious guide through funny, sometimes bizarre, and even tragic moments in her latest chapbook, Interference from an Unwitting Species. Her topics are broad, and questions often lie at the heart of her poems. From life on other planets to the death of a close friend, whatever her topic or the poetic form employed (it changes nearly every other page), Stratton’s humor, honesty, and accessible emotion prevail throughout in a chapbook that keeps you on your toes.
In “Other Women's Stories” Stratton documents the experiences of the postmodern woman from the generation of the feminine mystique and the original feminist movement. Here in this captured evening, we see women who have gained more individual freedom in a single lifetime than their ancestors had over generations of women. These people are “powerful and beautiful and unafraid,” while also perhaps beleaguered by the minutia of life, and Stratton has captured poetry within their stories.
“It’s Official, I Am Now An Old Lady” unearths an abiding image that hails from somewhere deep within Americana. Here age is not measured in wisdom and never mind how many years lived, just count those saved sheets of tinfoil and maybe the Cool Whip containers as well. I am unable to say for sure if old age is truly found in sheets of folded foil, but Stratton’s surety of this test is so absolute that I can hardly argue. Nor would I want to.
Like any true comedian, or any writer for that matter, Stratton’s comedy is a sword and a shield. She knocks us off guard with her wit and charm and then jabs quickly with painful poems written about the death of a friend. In poems such as “Perfect” and “You Lingered Before Leaving,” Stratton’s work becomes intensely personal as she delves into loss and her friend’s final days, and what it’s like to continue living after a death.
Interference from an Unwitting Species is indeed a series of delightful anecdotes, humorous musings, and compelling insights.
~ Pedestal Magazine
"Robin Stratton punches holes through your solar plexus with her no-nonsense
selections in her latest book, Interference from an Unwitting Species &
Other Poems. Roving in a galaxy of her own making, exploring creatures from
underwater Fishzilla to the chemical make-up of planets, her most favorite being
Jupiter, to characters getting stuck in the elevator, she dishes up a Petri dish
of poems brimming with vulnerability, wonder and permeability. Permeable just
like astronomers discover Jupiter turns out to be. But she's reaching up through
the stars, holding onto Jupiter as though it were still a solid body and
throwing it to us to catch, just like she's reaching into the Great Beyond to
pull back her friend Margie who has passed on, turning her back into a solid
body in her poems for us to meet and love, taste her cooking. Watch out,
Stratton's red hot. She can do anything."
Laura Rodley, Your Left Front Wheel is Coming Loose
"Robin Stratton's Interference from an Unwitting
Species is at times solemn, at times laugh-out-loud funny, and manages to
come across as a serious work that doesn't take itself too seriously. A very
satisfying and enjoyable read."
Tom Mahony, An Imperfect Solitude
"Stratton's collection is a feast of engaging narration that illustrates the
absurdity of the human predicament, yet never disregards the reality of
heartache. With a bit of wit, quirkiness, courage and vulnerability all rolled
into one, these poems tackle the matter of mortality. Her words are 'unafraid of
the black, unpredictable night' as she explores the unexpected, unknown and
transitory quality of life."
Renee Podunovich, If There is a Center, No
One Knows Where it Begins
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