July 9, 2014

Zine: Bloom Where You

Robyn Campbell's poetry blooms off the page.

On the first page of Robyn Campbell's zine of poetry, Bloom Where You, she quotes Annie Dillard from her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:

It would seem that emotions are the curse, not death -- emotions that appear to have devolved upon a few freaks as a special curse of Malevolence. 

All right then. It is our emotions that are amiss. We are freaks, the world is fine, and let us all go have lobotomies to restore us to a natural state. We can leave the library then, go back to the creek lobotomized, and live on its banks as untroubled as any muskrat or reed. You first.

Haven't we all felt like freaks for having feelings? For feeling too much or too little?

I should tell you here that Dillard is one of my favorite writers - probably within my top three - and so to see her words as a preface to this zine of poetry makes my insides vibrate. Oftentimes, zines are separated from what one may consider "literary" in the academic sense, so when I see a fusion of the two, my excitement flares.

Bloom Where You, a collection of nine poems, makes me feel like a true freak. In other words, Robyn's lush poetry induces a lot of feelings in me. Akin to Dillard, Robyn writes about nature and its relation to herself and her emotions. She bookends the zine with two poems that focus on hope and growing, beginning with "Gardening Tips," in which she tells herself to "devour the world like a bright bruised fruit" and ends with the title piece "Bloom Where You" in which she describes intently planting small onions as an act of perseverance. The two pieces offer a satisfying start and finish to the emotional turmoil in between, which deals with yearning, escaping and unrequited love.

Robyn's descriptions are vivid and tangible. They flutter off the page in a very real and wistful way. We are desperate to get close, the question forming underneath our tongues like pearls, is one example of how she seems to effortlessly combine nature with body. Her ability to convince the reader of the certainty of these literary happenings is firm and resonate. 

we poked our 
fingers in the bees' nest because
when we become desperate
we need answers.

example: you were a good person 
because i said you were.

another example: i am
a slug steadily crawling towards the big pile of salt.

There are moments of love so strong and there are moments of melancholy so palpable. Robyn Campbell's poems have easily shot up to the top of my list. Her words comfort the rest of us, showing us that we are not alone in our freakish ways.

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Written by Cynthia Schemmer