Poets Resist: Lisa Robertson

In 3 Summers (Coach House), poet Lisa Robertson traces the body in its various forms, exploring borders and boundaries and time, all the while asking what is a body?  In Lisa’s words “…the whole female body of time mostly passes beneath representation.” Read on for a poem from the collection, and an interview with the poet. 

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This year we feel everyone could see a little more solidarity and community, so we’re getting poetically political with Poets Resist, a series dedicated to poetry as a form of resistance. Every day on the blog we will feature a poet whose work explores one of these topics: colonialism and violence, homophobia and transphobia, environmental destruction, and/or the !@#$% patriarchy.In 3 Summers (Coach House), poet Lisa Robertson traces the body in its various forms, exploring borders and boundaries and time, all the while asking what is a body?  In Lisa’s words “…the whole female body of time mostly passes beneath representation.” Read on for a poem from the collection, and an interview with the poet. 
ALU: What are some books that inspired or informed 3 Summers?LR:Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things, Karl Marx’s thesis on Lucretius and DemocritusALU: If you were protesting the patriarchy, what would your protest sign read?LR: Enough of the Least!ALU: Why did you write this collection?LR: I wanted to represent the passage of time, the different qualities and textures of time in the body of the poem. This time is female. It angers and saddens me that the whole female body of time mostly passes beneath representation. My own body gives me information about this suppressed materiality; so does research, and friendship. I want to get to the core of what the experience of living is, in view of the inevitable fact of mortality. It’s in this sense that I have Lucretian aspirations for my poems.ALU: What does poetry as resistance mean to you?  LR: To practise the commitment to weak form. To follow this commitment to the end. I think we know enough about force now—by weakness, I mean a chosen and communicated value which is the opposite of force. I suppose it’s aligned with the technique called passive resistance. There is important and very detailed political information to be found in human and other cultural expressions that have been expunged, demoted, pathologized by the interlocking systems of global capital.* * *
Poet and essayist Lisa Robertson has held residencies at the California College of the Arts, Cambridge University; University of California, Berkeley; UC San Diego; and American University of Paris. Some of her books include Cinema of the Present (Coach House); Debbie: An Epic, nominated for the Governor General’s Award (New Star Books); The Men (Coach House); Occasional Works and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture (Coach House). Her poetry collection Lisa Robertson’s Magenta Soul Whip (Coach House) was named one of The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2010, and was longlisted for the 2011 Warwick Prize for Writing. She currently lives in France.* * *Buy 3 Summers or any of our other featured poetry month collections and get a Poets Resist pack of a patch and buttons to wear to your next protest. And if you need some more resistance poetry inspiration,  check out our poetry bot!Keep up with us all month on   Twitter,   Instagram, and   Facebook with the hashtag #poetsresist.