Cinema of the Present
Fifteen lines per page. One hundred and nine pages. Endless interpretations and possibilities.
Cinema of the Present is a sort of alternating dialogue between thoughts and impressions, or, perhaps, observations and conclusions drawn from those observations. It deftly plays with language, evoking a mix of fleeting images and memories from the reader and comingling them with her ongoing narrative. Many lines repeat throughout the piece, creating an echo effect with recursive thoughts returning to shed new light on later lines, images, and profundities.
I suspect I could read it twice more and not truly understand Robertson’s true goals or message with the piece. Of course, with poetry, that’s not necessarily the point. Two more reads would no doubt reinforce what struck me and connected with me the first time, allowing further opportunities to find my own spin on her words.
I don’t know quite what to make of Cinema of the Present, but that’s part of what kept me turning pages. It’s compelling in its vagueness, in its sense of potential, in what it evokes in the reader. And what more could a poet ask for?
Coach House Books