Biography of Robin Robertson
Robin Robertson, FRSL (born in Scone, Perthshire 1955) is a Scottish poet.
Robertson was brought up on the north-east coast of Scotland, but has spent most of his professional life in London. After working as an editor at Penguin Books and Secker and Warburg, he became poetry and fiction editor at Jonathan Cape.
Robertson's poetry appears regularly in the London Review of Books and The New York Review of Books, and is represented in many anthologies. In 2004, he edited Mortification: Writers' Stories of Their Public Shame, which collects seventy commissioned pieces by international authors. In 2006 he published The Deleted World, new versions of the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, and in 2008 a new translation of Medea, which has been dramatised for stage and radio. Robertson is a trustee of the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry.
Robertson's first volume of poetry, A Painted Field, won the 1997 Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Scottish First Book of the Year Award. Slow Air followed in 2002, and his third book, Swithering, was published in 2006, winning the Forward Prize for Best Collection. In 2004, Robertson received the E. M. Forster Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2009 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature He completed the set of Forward Prizes in 2009 when "At Roane Head" won the award for Best Single Poem. This poem is included in his fourth collection, The Wrecking Light (2010), a volume shortlisted for the 2010 Forward Prize, the Costa Poetry Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize. In 2013 he was honorably awarded the international, German Petrarca-Preis, sharing it with Adonis. In 2013, his book Hill of Doors was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Book Awards (Poetry).
Robin Robertson Poems
A figment, a thumbed maquette of a cat, some
Dream Of The Huntress
It is always the same: she is standing over me
Wedding The Locksmith's Daughter
The slow-grained slide to embed the blade of the key is a sheathing, a gliding on graphite, pushing inside to find the ribs of the lock.
I should never have stayed here in this cold shieling once the storm passed and the rain had finally eased.
Under the gritted lid of winter each ice-puddle's broken plate cracked to a star. The morning assembling itself into black and white, the slow dawn
Dionysus and the Maiden
after Nonnus I Her only home was here in this forest, among the high rocks, sending her long arrows in flight through the standing pines
What the horses see at night
When the day-birds have settled in their creaking trees, the doors of the forest open for the flitting
for Don Paterson A flight of loose stairs off the street into a high succession of empty rooms, prolapsed chairs and a memory of women perfumed with hand-oil and Artemisia absinthium:
Only a blue string tethers him to the present. The small black goat; the stone enclosure; the forked wooden altar washed in coconut milk, hung with orange and yellow marigolds;
From Dumb Show, With Candles
Now the night has fallen, Edinburgh comes alight as if each building's shell has a fire inside that burned. The follies - lit exhibits - stand here on the hill
What am I to think now, the white scut of her bottom disappearing down the half-flight
Under Beinn Ruadhainn
For Andrew O'Hagan Three moons in the sky the night they found him drowned in Sawtan's Bog;
Still sleepwalking through her life, I wrap her up and we go through the snow that fell all night
The Fishermen's Farewell
Their long stares mark them apart; eyes gone to sea-colors: gray, foam-flecked and black in the undertow, blue
A figment, a thumbed
maquette of a cat, some
ditched plaything, something
brought in from outside:
his white fur stiff and grey,
coming apart at the seams.
I study the muzzle
of perished rubber, one ear
eaten away, his sour body