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Topic: Katherine Leyton

Poetry as Myth-Making: Sit How You Want Robin Richardson

I can’t help but read Robin Richardson’s latest collection, Sit How You Want, partly as a book of mourning, mourning over how “everything / was about a man trying to get what he wanted,” as she writes in “Stage 4,” a poem about grieving the impending death of an abusive father. These poems are funerals for childhoods lost to predatory fathers and men like the “Turkish potter at the CNE,” whom she describes in “Autobiography as a Child in Second Person” as the one who “first made you bodily aware,” and whose hands were “just big enough to close like rope / around your neck.” Or more generally, as a mourning for what we lose as a result of molding our bodies and behaviours to male desires, an experience she touches on in “The Most Expensive: “as if my diet of carrots and cayenne is ‘cause / nothing taste as good as skinny makes money / makes the bed and stands beside us like a parent / with poor boundaries who just wants us / to be happy.”