The Old Man in the Mirror Isn’t Me: Last Call Haiku

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“The language is so mordant, relaxed, flint-chipshapely and edged, I think Sam Spade must have said these haiku first, between gun-butts to the skull, and Robertson channelled them.  They’re the alleys, sidewalks, offices, subways of modern Toronto, and they have the Zen poet’s reverence for the world as presence of the All (“Sleet storm / Tin roof / Who needs Mozart?”). Their search for a way out only momentarily succeeds, and never ends, but it hovers around ecstasy. “Gasoline rainbows / Exist / Look!”

A. F. Moritz, author of As Far As You Can Go and Toronto’s Poet Laureate

 

“Robertson’s preface meanders through the bygone used bookstores of Toronto, raises a glass to literature and friendship, and eventually [addresses] the craft of writing.  I loved it . . . The haiku themselves are impacted diamonds, small through either density or subtlety, but either way undeniably rich.  These are modern haiku, urban and gritty, but they seek tenderness . . . Robertson keeps it fresh with humour that never goes sardonic, and an unapologetic sauciness.”

Rob Thomas, Broken Pencil

 

Longlisted for the 2020 ReLit award for poetry.