Plotting Temporality

Plotting Temporality


ABOUT Suzanne Roberts



Suzanne Roberts
Suzanne Roberts is the author of the memoir Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail (Bison Books, 2012), as well as three previous collections of poetry, including Nothing to You (Pecan Grove Press, 2008). She currently teaches at Lake Tahoe Community College and for the low residency MFA program in Creative Writing at Sierra Nevada College. More information may be found on her website:


Pecan Grove Press

Nothing to You
by Suzanne Roberts


ISBN: 978-1-931247-46-7

“Sensual and unabashed, Suzanne Roberts’ poems draw you into a world where “it isn’t enough to walk over/ the bridge. You must/ look under it, see how/wind distorts your reflection.” Roberts walks with you “in the space between dripping ferns,” takes you where “the leaving becomes/part of the other world, / of sleep, of dreams,” where “dawn unties/ the earth from sky.” Nothing to You is an arresting collection of poems where the poet’s gaze is unblinking even as she admits, “I should look away now, but don’t.”
—Sholeh Wolpé
author of The Scar Saloon and Rooftops of Tehran

“Suzanne Roberts weaves together restlessness, travel experiences and a healthy strand of suspicion, creating a tapestry both intriguing and mysterious. Often conversational with suggestive language, rife with images yet understated, Roberts’ poems promise adventures both physical and mental, grand and private, cloaked in an atmosphere of spoiled romance and esthetic longing.”
—Stephen Reichert
Editor, Smartish Pace

Plotting Temporality

Remembrance = memory + longing.
The eye’s corridor through the skull.
Small changes mean everything.

The elastic starlight, unfixed
and crawling the trellis of the sky
like vines, the legs of a spider.

Clouds stack like dinner plates.
Heart is to torso as tooth
is to breast. To encourage association,

to discourage association mean everything.
Unfold, refold the letter, follow the curving
ink, a raven in flight, the immeasurable distance

between small explosions in the cup
of the skull, finally catching in the hips’ saucer.
The limbs, now stilts of night.

The art of accumulation means
everything. The ventricles deflate
from the cage of the heart.

It’s the obsession you carry
like a coffin, refusing burial
to the dead.

Sign is to signified as __________ is
to nameless things. Red fish
in their mating, and in their drowning.

To look at a clock and think
of another thing means everything,
means nothing, means you.

Suzanne Roberts’ poems in Plotting Temporality are songs of the body, the erotic imperative of flesh, the brutal finality of bone. These haunting necessities are exquisitely exploredin a poem such as ‘Skeleton,’ where lovemaking takes place within the ‘jutted pelvis,’ where the lover’s hands, cruel and tender, grasp a figure ‘stripped clean without the canvas of skin,’ a figure urgent, sensual, and grotesque. Roberts’ poems forcefully invoke ‘our night, our moon, but never, / never our dawn,’ their language striving to shape and illuminate our haunted movements—a caress, a spouse’s hand pushed away, a figure approaching from the
shadows, embraced with fateful longing.”

—Gaylord Brewer

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November 11, 2003

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