Power and sex take center stage in Robin Richardson’s formidable third collection, Sit How You Want. Plane crashes and automobile mishaps are the backdrop for female narrators who grapple with terror, anxiety, and powerlessness: “When I say I’m fine I mean the sky has opened / like an old wound under scurvy.” In their often grim wit, sinister straight talk, and sometimes violent bawdiness, Richardson’s poems work as counter-charms against the lingering trauma of abusive relationships, both familial and romantic. The book embodies a belief in poetry as an instrument of change, a tool for transforming pain into exuberant verbal energy: “It is the thrill of ruination / makes us innovate.”
Robin Richardson is the author of two collections of poetry, and is Editor-in-Chief at Minola Review. Her work has appeared in Salon, Poetry Magazine, The Walrus, Hazlitt, and Tin House, among others. She holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, has won the Fortnight Poetry Prize in the U.K., The John B. Santorini Award, The Joan T. Baldwin Award, and has been shortlisted for the CBC, Walrus, and ARC Poetry Prizes, among others. Richardson’s latest collection, Sit How You Want, is forthcoming with Véhicule Press.