The Personal Art: essays, reviews & memoirs by Peter Robinson (Shearsman Books)

Tears in the Fence

The scope of this quite modestly pitched book of reviews and essays is actually quite considerable, it takes in quite a wide compass in a relatively unassuming way in some 440 pages. Robinson has authors he likes, but he is not into score taking or arguing canonically. I suppose this could have been called a collected or selected prose. But Robinson is not the kind to hammer his points, there’s a considerable openness here to many varieties of poetic expression.

So the book is bold but lacking in ostentation, which makes a curious combination of assertion and humility. There are a great many reviews here and I’d say they’re all pretty insightful, and the final section is given over to some autobiographical essays. Among things to prioritise are perhaps, a vicar’s son,Robinson’s 18 years of living and teaching in Japan. Also with considerable candour he discusses his surgery for a…

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