Review: The History of Water

review-history-of-waterDenis Robillard does our community a service that only poets can by re-imagining water in all its glorious forms. These are darkening days when the politics of water floods our news feeds with threats, making us feel impoverished.

It is a mystery where poetry comes from. Nobody can say, except its origins belong in a source within a wellspring of ancient memory. This poet casts out into a sea we cannot possibly fathom with “memory as my lure.” Writes, Robillard trusting that, “still wet words in/conscious net waiting in the weeds” will come to him.

Don’t we all?

Robillard poetics is a determined effort to reel in logos from the waters of amnesia with words that shape the world. “I am writing in the key of the soul/I am measuring the pulse of the planet”, reinvigorates not only language, but as rival knowledge reasserts the universal musical measure of time.

Robillard’s locus amoenus is the waters of the Detroit River where he sits and writes on the history that has floated through and by those waters, intermingling with his own personal story. Much like Siddhartha, living his life in the presence of the inspirational river, Robillard too understands that water has many voices and significant messages to divulge to any who might listen.

Water though, has a long association with our human emotions, symbolizing as it does mother, birth, desires, longings as well as tragedy and death. Running through this collection is a confessional narrative of the high and low water marks of Robillard’s life, loves and losses. At times nostalgic; “I remember hitchhiking at 18”; regretful, “Some day you will come to me to Silk Island”; submerged longings, “My father calls out to me beneath the rain”; fear, “The basement looks like a war zone caked in mud”; and leave taking, “the old radio/holds only/gravel voices/and/shadow of the dead.”

Robillard allows the reader reflection on The History of Water. A valuable contribution towards enabling and amplifying the conversation about our precious water resources.   We are enriched and inspired by his poetry.

Autographed copies can be ordered directly from the author. Email is

Author: Denis Robillard

Publisher: Cranberry Tree Press

Pages: 42



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s