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 Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

On Trend: Add a Touch of Velvet to Your Decor

Local designers say the fabric can give a room a luxurious feel. Here’s how to incorporate it into your home.

Spring Clean Your Attic at This Reuse Festival

Just in time for Earth Day, local organizations are giving you the opportunity to recycle, learn about sustainability and get rid of unwanted stuff at home.

Dish Osteria Will Reopen This Spring

After a two-year hiatus, Michele and Cindy Savoia's beloved restaurant and bar returns to the South Side.

7 Scenic Day Trips with Spectacular Views

By car, train, bicycle or foot, head outside to take in these unforgettable vistas.

Restaurant Review: LeoGreta is a Gem in the Making

With a few tweaks and a little time to settle in, LeoGreta will be the restaurant we all wish we had in our neighborhood.

The Pittsburgh Pirates' Last World Series

Forty years removed from the Pittsburgh Pirates’ most recent championship, the “We Are Family” Pirates reflect on the myriad differences between their game and the one played on the North Shore today.

Foreign Investment: Pittsburgh's Business with Israel

Pittsburgh has a robust Jewish and Israeli community, with scores of programs, both social and academic, bridging the ocean. The relationship, however, is increasingly about business.

Grandstand Gear: The Ultimate Baseball Scoring Pencil

A Pirates fan says she designed the perfect pencil for keeping score at baseball games — and it’s a hit.

Giving the Little Ones Room to Learn

An expansion at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf will allow the storied institution to better serve the needs of its youngest students.

Scrapbooks Share Pittsburgh's Subterranean Secrets

Beneath a longstanding Strip District church, visitors could once descend into catacombs.

Pat Toomey and President Trump: Not Always on Same Page

The Republican Senator from Pennsylvania discusses his differences with the President, avoiding another government shutdown and how to further combat the opioid crisis.

Hiking Through the Northern Suburbs with Rachel Carson

The Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy seeks to bring more people into the natural world via an increasingly interconnected network of suburban trails.

Our 50 Years: A Look Back at Ads You Won't See Anymore

An “In Memoriam” segment for those products and services that are unlikely to ever advertise again.

Rolling Pepperoni's Doughy, Delicious Dialogue

Katt Schuler serves West Virginia’s iconic pepperoni roll with a side of storytelling.

Brown and Bell are Gone – What the Steelers Need to do Next

Whether the Steelers are better or worse off, whether they’re culpable or deserve to be applauded for finally resolving two of their biggest problems remains to be seen.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Spring Clean Your Attic at This Reuse Festival

Spring Clean Your Attic at This Reuse Festival

Just in time for Earth Day, local organizations are giving you the opportunity to recycle, learn about sustainability and get rid of unwanted stuff at home.

Comments

Broadway in the 'Burgh: “Mean Girls” on Tap, “Hamilton” Returning

Broadway in the 'Burgh: “Mean Girls” on Tap, “Hamilton” Returning

Tony award winners, big-screen tie-ins and jukebox musicals are all slated to make 2019-20 stage appearances in Pittsburgh.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Dish Osteria Will Reopen This Spring

Dish Osteria Will Reopen This Spring

After a two-year hiatus, Michele and Cindy Savoia's beloved restaurant and bar returns to the South Side.

Comments

Feel The Groove, and Fill Your Belly, at Fet Fisk

Feel The Groove, and Fill Your Belly, at Fet Fisk

The bi-weekly pop-up weaves vaguely Scandinavian cuisine and communal vibes for a transportive experience.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

From ultra-premium experiences to bargains with great views, here are five perfect places to watch the Pens.

Comments

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Don’t resign yourself to the gym treadmills just yet – fall is one of the best times of the year to get outside and pound the pavement, surrounded by falling leaves and the possibility of grabbing a hot latte on the way home.

Comments


It's 2019. We Need a Modern, Dine-In Cinema

It's 2019. We Need a Modern, Dine-In Cinema

Pittsburgh is long overdue for a new movie palace where you can get an actual meal brought to your seat.

Comments

Unexpected Concerts with the Warhol

Unexpected Concerts with the Warhol

The museum’s “Sound Series” creates a setting for intriguing, intimate performances.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Brown and Bell are Gone – What the Steelers Need to do Next

Brown and Bell are Gone – What the Steelers Need to do Next

Whether the Steelers are better or worse off, whether they’re culpable or deserve to be applauded for finally resolving two of their biggest problems remains to be seen.

Comments

‘The Most Exciting Sporting Event in the Country’

‘The Most Exciting Sporting Event in the Country’

“March Madness” is as cruel as it is compelling. Just ask Robert Morris Head Coach Andy Toole, who has been there and hoping to go back again.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Triple Frontier

The 400-Word Review: Triple Frontier

Netflix's action flick is pretty good. It's also exactly what the streaming service should be providing.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Five Feet Apart

The 400-Word Review: Five Feet Apart

The teen drama is a feeble knock-off of similar tales with no goal but mining cheap tears.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
The Big Fake Wedding Offers Everything But the “I Dos”

The Big Fake Wedding Offers Everything But the “I Dos”

This nontraditional wedding showcase gives couples real-world insight into planning their big day.

Comments

Sweet Designs: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner and Runners-Up

Sweet Designs: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner and Runners-Up

These Pittsburgh couples certainly know how to bring the cookie table tradition to life.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
On Trend: Add a Touch of Velvet to Your Decor

On Trend: Add a Touch of Velvet to Your Decor

Local designers say the fabric can give a room a luxurious feel. Here’s how to incorporate it into your home.

Comments

Leanne & Steve Dish on Season 2 of "Restored by the Fords"

Leanne & Steve Dish on Season 2 of "Restored by the Fords"

Siblings Leanne and Steve Ford talk renovating Steve’s new warehouse, Leanne’s new baby — and their two new HGTV shows.

Comments