Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Undercover: Carousel: New & Selected Poetry & Fiction and Muskrat Friday Dinner

Reviews of "Carousel: New & Selected Poetry & Fiction" by Judith R. Robinson and "Muskrat Friday Dinner" by Scott Silsbe.



Carousel: New & Selected Poetry & Fiction
By Judith R. Robinson
Lummox Press; $15


Judith R. Robinson’s poem “This Summer Moment” quietly fades out like the last long evening of summer with these bittersweet lines: “No more white ice cream / Trucks, very few honey bees. / No more starlit hay rides / Or other glowing events.” Longing, regret and much hard-earned wisdom runs through Robinson’s “Carousel: New & Selected Poetry & Fiction.” The poems collected here shimmer with a dusky light, glowing warmly like the sun going down over a still sea.

Robinson is a writer, editor and teacher. She has taught and led writing workshops for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Winchester Thurston School and the Community College of Allegheny County. Currently, she teaches as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

In her poem “Collateral Circulation,” she offers this balm to the reader: “Please understand that the heart does not quite break.” However, Robinson quickly qualifies that reassurance in the following line, “Neither is it ever quite repaired.” Her work is a study of the smooth scar tissue accrued from a life of loving, being loved, and, as the years pile up behind us, being left behind while the memories of time passed continue to haunt us, “what perverse circuitry / of suffering brain fastens on this / utter stillness, this image caught / forever in an unmoveable moment.”

Not every great struggle is of the summer blockbuster variety. Often what we seem to suffer most are those moments when the mind wanders back and an old beloved memory resurfaces unbidden and unprepared for, “so much effort to hold bitterness at bay / in the silence that crushes any thought / that a song we loved might still somehow matter.”


Muskrat Friday Dinner
By Scott Silsbe
White Gorilla Press; $11.99


Scott Silsbe’s poetry is in perpetual conversation with the idea of nostalgia. This is not to say his poems are nostalgic, instead his work recognizes the gravitational pull of some sepia-toned past but pushes back against it.

Silsbe’s latest collection of poems, “Muskrat Friday Dinner,” casts an eye back to the Downriver Detroit of his youth while simultaneously offering a painterly look at our current moment in Pittsburgh. Silsbe has an affinity for the kind of watering holes and dive bars only the locals patronize. “Pinball, 1983” suggests the poet comes by it honestly as he takes the reader to Marve’s Bar, which was “a basement with a television, a pool table, four stools, / and a Star Trek pinball machine. I was 5 years old.”

Bars continue to be a touchstone for Silsbe. They are the places we gather with friends as well as the places we go to be alone with our thoughts. “Sitting on a barstool at the BBT, / having a cold one and a small / plate of pierogies, I’m reminded / of why I don’t watch the news.” Though not immune to the darker things in life — the specter of death and dissolution haunt the edges of his work — Silsbe’s poems seem to always carry within them a comforting light.  



 

Speak Up

Nov. 20/ Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Russo brings his heart-felt and comedic tales of blue collar lives to Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures stellar Ten Evenings series. His novel “Everybody’s Fool,” a sequel to “Nobody’s Fool” (made into a movie starring Paul Newman), returned readers to the down-at-heel upstate New York town of North Bath last year. His nuanced portrayal of life in Rust Belt America particularly hit a chord during the recent presidential election in “Trajectory: Stories,” a new collection of short stories that was published earlier this year. (Carnegie Library Lecture Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland; 412/622-8866, pittsburghlectures.org)

Nov. 8/ The poets and performers r. erica doyle, francine j. harris, Douglas Kearney and Ronaldo V. Wilson gather to present new work honoring Pittsburgh sculptor Thaddeus Mosley. Organized by the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for African American Poetry and Poetics as a part of the Black Futures series, this celebration of Mosley’s work continues the long-standing tradition of ekphrasis, or the response to another work of art, in poetry. (Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, Schenley Drive, Oakland; caapp.pitt.edu)
 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Trade Now, Sign Later Approach Could Work Again for Penguins

With the NHL trade deadline looming, the Penguins are increasingly employing more forward-thinking approaches to the acquisition of future stars.

Add Some Culture to Your Life with Swan Lake

If you play your cards right, the beautiful production from Pittsburgh Ballet Theater will dazzle even novices.

The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

A coffee shop, an iconic landmark, an airport and beyond — these are the best places to practice the art of people watching.

Our Dream Penthouse Used to be a Carpet Warehouse

The building that now houses a $1.05 million dollar penthouse was first used for a much less exciting purpose.

HGTV Renews ‘Restored by the Fords’ Starring Pittsburgh Siblings

The finale showcasing Leanne and Steve Ford airs Tuesday, and the duo already are looking for more local houses to restore for the show’s second season.

Five Fun Facts about Pittsburgh Bridges

With more than 440 bridges in the city to choose from, VisitPITTSBURGH shows off the most interesting bridges within the city in its new Official Visitors Guide.

WQED Event to Celebrate Mister Rogers Forever Stamp

USPS will dedicate a new forever stamp to Fred Rogers and celebrate with a party in March.

Mothers Know Best for This Pittsburgh Couple

For Cady Walter and Jared Henigin, happily ever after may never have happened if their mothers hadn’t acted as matchmakers.

Peters Township Native Wins Silver Medal in Speed Skating

After swine flu kept him from competing in Sochi in 2014, short track speed skater John-Henry Krueger finally won a spot on the podium at the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

Perspectives: A Better Life

A former Pittsburgh television reporter recounts the lessons taught to him by his grandfather who spent more than four decades as a Pullman Porter.

Pittsburgh MultiStories: Phipps Legacy – The Fulton Building

With its distinctive seven-story archway, the Fulton Building (now the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel) remains a beloved Pittsburgh landmark.

Kick Back and Relax with a Baby Sloth

For $150 you can book an up-close hang out session with Vivien the two-toed sloth.

Jack Kerouac: Manager of the Pittsburgh Plymouths

In a league of his own making, the famous writer cast himself as the skipper of a (fantasy) Pittsburgh ball club.

Bucking the Trend: Gallagher’s Groovy Growing

Megan Gallagher is part of a small cadre of young farmers bucking demographic trends.

Meet the Woman bringing Dignity and Diversity to Twitter

As Twitter's vice president of intersectionality, culture and diversity, Candi Castleberry Singleton, who splits her time between Pittsburgh and San Francisco, works tirelessly to bring inclusion and respect to companies.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Five Fun Facts about Pittsburgh Bridges

Five Fun Facts about Pittsburgh Bridges

With more than 440 bridges in the city to choose from, VisitPITTSBURGH shows off the most interesting bridges within the city in its new Official Visitors Guide.

Comments

WQED Event to Celebrate Mister Rogers Forever Stamp

WQED Event to Celebrate Mister Rogers Forever Stamp

USPS will dedicate a new forever stamp to Fred Rogers and celebrate with a party in March.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
First Look: Poulet Bleu in Lawrenceville

First Look: Poulet Bleu in Lawrenceville

PM dining critic Hal B. Klein takes a look at the new Richard DeShantz restaurant ... and he has the scoop on what's next from the energetic restaurateur.

Comments

Avenue B is Closing

Avenue B is Closing

The Shadyside restaurant ends its 8-plus year run in a few weeks.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

A coffee shop, an iconic landmark, an airport and beyond — these are the best places to practice the art of people watching.

Comments

Sweet Ideas: Our Favorites for Valentine's Day

Sweet Ideas: Our Favorites for Valentine's Day

Where to eat, where to go, what to buy –– some of our favorites to make your Valentine's celebration memorable.

Comments


Add Some Culture to Your Life with Swan Lake

Add Some Culture to Your Life with Swan Lake

If you play your cards right, the beautiful production from Pittsburgh Ballet Theater will dazzle even novices.

Comments

After Dark Hall of Fame: Stage AE

After Dark Hall of Fame: Stage AE

The North Shore concert hotspot is the latest inductee in the After Dark Hall of Fame.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Trade Now, Sign Later Approach Could Work Again for Penguins

Trade Now, Sign Later Approach Could Work Again for Penguins

With the NHL trade deadline looming, the Penguins are increasingly employing more forward-thinking approaches to the acquisition of future stars.

Comments

The Quest is No Less Recognizable Even if Team USA Is Not

The Quest is No Less Recognizable Even if Team USA Is Not

They’re still playing hockey at the Winter Olympics, but without NHL players. Which means the guys doing the playing are relative nobodies. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Black Panther is Marvel's Best Film

Black Panther is Marvel's Best Film

Reviews of "Black Panther" and "Early Man," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments

At Last, We're Freed from Fifty Shades

At Last, We're Freed from Fifty Shades

Reviews of "Fifty Shades Freed" and "The Cloverfield Paradox," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Mothers Know Best for This Pittsburgh Couple

Mothers Know Best for This Pittsburgh Couple

For Cady Walter and Jared Henigin, happily ever after may never have happened if their mothers hadn’t acted as matchmakers.

Comments

Cookie Table Contest: And the Winner Is ...

Cookie Table Contest: And the Winner Is ...

We introduce the winner and the runners up for our biannual cookie table contest.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Our Dream Penthouse Used to be a Carpet Warehouse

Our Dream Penthouse Used to be a Carpet Warehouse

The building that now houses a $1.05 million dollar penthouse was first used for a much less exciting purpose.

Comments

HGTV Renews ‘Restored by the Fords’ Starring Pittsburgh Siblings

HGTV Renews ‘Restored by the Fords’ Starring Pittsburgh Siblings

The finale showcasing Leanne and Steve Ford airs Tuesday, and the duo already are looking for more local houses to restore for the show’s second season.

Comments