The Curator's Notes

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Terrapin Books (2021)

A gorgeously deft book, The Curator’s Notes dares to question the Edenic. It asks, why not take the knowledge at hand hanging like “plump, purple orbs…begging to be eaten…”?  And what can we grow with states of paradise being ever fleeting? This curator is a custodian of both specific and collective heritage, connecting daughter to mother to grandmother to wife to husband to the backyard garden to that garden of old where, as in the womb, knowing is limited and inevitable. In her sensual and tender book, Robin Rosen Chang has taken care to graciously offer us lyrics that swirl around and beyond our expectations until we accept both the churning waters and the radiant flight of circling birds as part of the story of life moving all too swiftly with and ultimately toward “the loam –/sand, silt, and clay.”

--Vievee Francis, author of Forest Primeval: Poems

The Curator’s Notes is a book of confidences and great emotional lucidity. Hiding or waffling is not permitted.  It reads like a gift, poem by poem, and in the rich, tonal revelation of the whole. Robin Rosen Chang has the lyrical felicity to harmonize pain and beauty, myth and domesticity, and everything she touches is subject  to both her affinity for the natural world and her love for art and craft.  Her accomplishment in this fine first book is to reach deeply into the tragic and bring out poems of real discovery.

--Rodney Jones, author of Village Prodigies

There's Eve.  And the afterthought, Adam.  And the Snake. Lost mothers and found mothers, all the same mother. There's love = husband, children = treasure.  There's blood and tongue and orbits around the moon. There's a visit from the dead, a tiny bird in hand, water "from the outdoor spigot, freezing water needling/ our skin…."  Which is to say, this surprising marvel of a book curates everything!  The world under Robin Rosen Chang's good eye charms and sobers.  But back to Eve: "…bite the apple," says this poet, "and she did."

  --Marianne Boruch, author of The Anti-Grief