Lisa Robertson's Magenta Soul Whip
Verses, essays, confessions, reports, translations, drafts, treatises, laments and utopias, 1995–2007. Collected by Elisa Sampedrin.
Lisa Robertson writes poems that mine the past – its ideas, its personages, its syntax – to construct a lexicon of the future. Her poems both court and cuckold subjectivity by unmasking its fundament of sex and hesitancy, the coil of doubt in its certitude. Reading her laments and utopias, we realize that language – whiplike – casts ahead of itself a fortuitous form. The form brims here pleasurably with dogs, movie stars, broths, painting's detritus, Latin and pillage. Erudite and startling, the poems in Lisa Robertson's Magenta Soul Whip, occasional works written over the past fifteen years, turn vestige into architecture, chagrin into resplendence. In them, we recognize our grand, saddened century.
'Robertson makes intellect seductive; only her poetry couldturn swooning into a critical gesture.'
– The Village Voice
'Here as in six earlier glittering books, Robertson proves hard to explain but easy to enjoy ... Dauntlessly and resourcefully intellectual, Robertson can also be playful or blunt ... Though she wields ... language expertly, even beautifully, she also shows an almost pagan delight in embodiment.'
– New York Times
'Robertson is one of our most crisply intelligent writers, and the poems and prose pieces in Lisa Robertson’s Magenta Soul Whip ... continually knock readers off their conventional responses, asking that they follow the curlicues of thought-in-motion the writing displays.'
– Canadian Literature
'Magenta Soul Whip manages to exist in a universe of its own making, in which Baudelaire and Lucretius both make appearances, as do Jesus Christ and the adulteress he saved from stoning, a conversational dog, and contemporary Canadian visual artist Lucy Hogg. The book teaches us how to read it as it unfolds for us page by page.'
– Jerry Magazine
'[Robertson's] preoccupations are as much lyrical and communicative … as they are intellectual.'
– Quill & Quire