This fine book is made especially memorable not only by the sweep of Stan Rubin’s voice, but by his carefully structured argument that we are the stuff of dichotomy and paradox. His primary subjects are silence and sound, although silence has rarely spoken more clearly than in poems whose whittled-down sounds find war in the hulls of pine nuts and human nature in the folds of an accordion. There can be despair in a sunrise, Rubin tells us. And ecstasy in a barrel of seeds, “The way they slide / in your fingers, it’s impossible / not to hear them rubbing together . . .” Such is the achievement of There.Here.—poem after poem in a generative consort impossible not to hear.
About the Author
Stan Sanvel Rubin
After serving as Director of the Brockport Writers Forum & Videotape Library (SUNY) for many years, Stan Rubin moved to the Olympic Peninsula in 2003 as founding director of the Rainier Writing Workshop low-residency MFA at Pacific Lutheran University. He has published poems in such journals as AGNI, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, The Laurel Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Carolina Quarterly, The Florida Review, Poetry Northwest, Willow Springs, and others. He is the author of three previous full-length collections, Hidden Sequel (Barrow Street Press, 2006), winner of the Barrow Street Book Prize; Five Colors (WordTech, 2004); and Midnight (State Street Press, 1995), as well as two chapbooks, On the Coast (2002) and Lost (1981). His work has been anthologized in The Poets Guide to the Birds (Anhinga Press, 2011) and Long Journey: Contemporary Northwest Poets (Oregon State University Press, 2006) and elsewhere. His poetry has received a Constance J. Saltonstall Foundation fellowship for Poetry.
When we wake, we are a morning of despair.
We comb our hair out with crumbs,
we suck sleep from long spoons
until dizziness takes us back to the dream
we walk through all day. If we head up,
we go down. If we go down, we go
all the way down, to basements we didn’t realize
and farther. We step on stairs made of bodies,
an escalator of ruin keeps us moving.
It is so hard to want anything we can use.
Everything we want hurts someone.
Everything we answer for is the wrong thing
and our answers mean nothing. Surely someone
will recognize our innocence, and love us.
—Stan Sanvel Rubin