“Paramita, Little Black” is a collection of poetry from Suzanne Robertson emphasizing the details of an intimate journey of discovery and enlightenment, and it appears to be a running theme throughout this brief and quickly readable selection. Poetry is one of my first loves in literature, so I was delighted to have the chance to read them.
Robertson has an interesting way of weaving her words and ideas together, with some notable sparks in her writing. There were times that some of the poems didn’t quite strike me in their inherent meaning at first, but upon rereading a few times, I did understand each of the individual links with the theme she’s going for. If you consider that each of these poems are tied by experiences and encountering unique personalities by a certain point, it’s interesting to see the individual portraits she paints in the experiences noted in her travels/respective journey.
I’ll argue that some poems in this collection seem stronger than others in their inclusion, which makes the presentation a bit uneven, but still enjoyable if taken on its collective merits. “To the Point” serves as an introduction to the collection, the start of the journey as a drawn parallel. “Sibling of the Air” follows the beginning of the journey, the plane ride to the destination. It switches from third person to first to make the journey more intimate, through an assortment of sights and goodbyes. I like some of the details like the line “parents circa 1974” (probably denotes a cherished photo).
“Fear of Death Confounds Me” is one of my favorite poems in the work, for the strength of its lyricism and imagery. The line “Parents irrevocably split like the wedges of fruit they feed to children,” is one among quite a few potent comparisons. And there are intimate portraits between the poems of “Rosemary” and especially the multi-part “Little Black” with an eye for intimacy and experience all while incorporating strong images of nature to provide color and contrast. “October” concludes the collection with a wonderful tie to nature as well as the finality that lingers even with the passage of time.
I do feel that some of the comparisons weren’t as strong as they could’ve been and some poems didn’t strike me as much (“A Conversation with Horizon” struck me as an odd inclusion, though as an individual poem, it flowed well upon reading) but overall, I did enjoy them and would look into Robertson’s future works.
Overall score: 3.5/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher Guernica Editions.