“I borrowed my boat from Rousseau, who describes, in Reveries of a Solitary Walker, floating aimlessly in a lake observing only the flickering of his consciousness in concert with the various patterns of afternoon–light, water, breeze, foliage. He calls this the pleasurable sensation of existing”, says poet Lisa Robertson in an interview on Harriet, the Poetry Foundation blog.
In the interview, Robertson talked with Sina Queyras of the Poetry Foundation about her latest collection, R’s Boat, which evolved from the award-winning chapbook Rousseau’s Boat and from Robertson’s notebook archives. The author of six books, Robertson is known for her boldly original lyric poems, and sentences that Queyras describes as “densely, intellectually layered and imagistically condensed”. In R’s Boat, Robertson uses sentences to open the “caesura–the space between”, that she says differentiates poetry from prose, a space/time when “a thinking gathers, dissolves, moves.” This is where the sensation of Rousseau’s solitary boat ride awakens and washes over the reader. Read the Harriet interview with Lisa Robertson, and read an excerpt from her poem Palinode.