Review – Dead As – Robyn Bateman


I am baby-faced –

I am baby-boned –

I am the miracle

of every death

around me.

I do not feel that the deaths of family members, a few familiar co-workers, and an acquaintance or two, truly bring to life the concept of losing someone whom you meet, and then becomes a part of you. Robyn Bateman’s newest chapbook, Dead As, is as close to capturing that feeling as anything I’ve ever read. There’s an overwhelming sense of loss that’s felt in a very straight forward, almost – pardon the phrasing – deadpan, state-of-shock type of way. The idea of hearing about the loss of a loved one, but not quite recognizing what that actually means at first.

She told me of your death

the same way she told me

the garbage hadn’t been taken out

or that the pipes had burst.

Bateman’s words feel honest – and that can be really difficult to do when trying to capture such a heavy, and well, honest, moment. It’s easy to make a powerful moment feel contrived, and almost phony; Here, though, she succeeds at allowing the reader to simply feel exactly what the speaker is feeling: a quiet sadness.

I love you

won’t keep your hair straight,

your shirt tucked,

the fat of your tongue

from sleeping on the roof

of your mouth.

There is always a beauty in saying how you feel, and with Dead As, Robyn Bateman has done just that.

You’ll be able to find the book via Bone Tax Press, and Powell’s City of Books.


About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter. View all posts by Christopher Margolin

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