Growing up in an artistic and intellectual home in NYC as the son of a theatre director/spiritual healer and a
psychoanalyst/sculptor, Michael lived and breathed a connection between the Arts, healing and spirituality.
His first book of poetry, Love Like This, was published in 2005 and his paintings have been exhibited in both the
US and Europe. His poems and paintings have also been in several on-line magazines and he has written two book
chapters and more than a dozen articles on the integration of systems theory, spiritual practice, body-oriented
psychotherapies, creativity and Integral theory.
He attended Oberlin College where he majored in Studio Art and Religion and Lesley University where he earned a Masters degree in
Counseling Psychology. In his twenties and thirties, he was a student of the late Sufi Master Pir Vilayat Khan.
Since 1975, he has studied and taught Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Taoist Internal Alchemy under the guidance of several
Taoist internal energy arts masters. He is also a student of the Diamond Heart approach of A.H. Almaas.
“Readers won’t be able to help but feel the contagious energy of these images and words.”
– Kirkus Reviews
Poems of the body and the spirit, coupled with paintings in vivid color.
Robbins (Love Like This, 2005) returns with a new collection of poems both mystical and plainspoken. Carnal and cerebral free verse meditations, exhortations, and brief narratives on relationships, loss, and transcendence fill these pages. “You will have / no idea if it is / sexual or spiritual” says one speaker about a religious awakening, and indeed, the poet often associates these two concepts. One short poem, “They Danced in the Trees,” exemplifies this: “The woman and the beast / sailed quietly from tree to tree / causing joy juice/ to rain down through / the forest.” Verses such as “After 35 Years” and “They Were Married” take readers through many years of a relationship over several pages, taking fair note of everyday banalities even as they celebrate the deeper forces that run beneath them. There are elegies here and poems of travel (to Japan, to Mexico) and celebration. Robbins intersperses images of his paintings throughout his verse—chaotic shapes combining the fauvist brushwork of French painter Georges Rouault with the summery palette of American artist LeRoy Neiman. Their human or animal figures occupy a world that often resembles a description in one of the poems: “a riot of violent color / in a garden gone wild.” The author has a tendency, here and there, to resort to clichés; one narrator says that Kali’s dance will “burn me to a crisp,” for example, and Robbins writes in the introduction that “Entering the creative process is like diving into a rushing river.” But just as often as readers encounter such careworn phrases, they also confront the author’s unique language: spiders weave their webs “in the armpits of the trees,” or “the cold sub-zero air slapped his face like an old woman.” Readers won’t be able to help but feel the contagious energy of these images and words.
Lively verses about love, death, and all that lies in between.
Pub Date: July 1, 2015
Page count: 248pp
Publisher: Art Book Bindery
Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016
Psychotherapist, Meditation teacher
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