If you are in the London, Ontario area check out the Forest City Open Mic for Poetry monthly series run by Robyn Marie Butt!
A Hundred Poems About Flowers – the first twenty-five by Robyn Marie Butt
ISBN: 978-0-9918552-4-7 $22.95
With her debut book of verse, A Hundred Poems About Flowers: the first twenty-five, Robyn Marie Butt turns her powerful lyric gaze on the so-called “humble” matter of flowers numerous. While flowers have real sensuous value as living things, yet hold many symbolic meanings for humans, a writer could go in plenty of directions considering them. And this is the generous tack that Butt takes. These poems are luscious in detail yet mostly delivered in a colloquial voice. They are wise and smart. They are sometimes sad and frequently witty. These are poems of a numinous spirituality.
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A Hundred Poems About Flowers – the next twenty-five by Robyn Marie Butt
Boularderie Island Press
ISBN: 978-1-926448-07-7 $22.95
With The Next Twenty-five, Butt’s poems reflect two groups of flowers: common English garden blooms, and lesser known, often hidden, wildflowers increasingly endangered by corporate agriculture and suburban sprawl. Lyrical, thoughtful, and frequently witty, and infused with a numinous spirituality, her work lifts a colloquial voice honed in rural Southwestern Ontario to celebrate our human relationships with blossom.
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A Hundred Poems About Flowers – the third twenty-five by Robyn Marie Butt
ISBN: 978-1-926448-13-8 $22.95
For the third instalment of her poem-and-audio collaboration with Southwestern Ontario painters, Robyn Marie Butt looks at two flower workers from history: eighteenth-century English gentlewoman Mary Delany, originator of the art of collage; and twentieth-century British physician, healer, and mystic Edward Bach, creator of the Bach Flower Remedies. Engaged, insightful, and wryly humorous, here Butt’s poems explore the eternally rich subject of flowers through one artist’s life and one healer’s work until the poems become a form of thoughtful journeying. Butt’s surprise destination is a place where compelling resolutions appear in the little, overlooked things – things that gall us or keep us going, and turn out not to be so little at all.
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A Hundred Poems About Flowers – the final twenty-five by Robyn Marie Butt
ISBN: 978-1-926448-29-9 $22.95
In the fourth and final volume of her poem-and-audio collaboration with Southwestern Ontario painters, Robyn Marie Butt looks at flowers as metaphor – living energetic imprints that intertwine with who we are and who we may become. In these poems, flowers sum up relationships to self and others; become emblems of struggle or survival; offer a breath of resilience from another dimension. Flowers act as secret guides for the experiencer alone; as rebel companions, flouting solitude’s conventions. Yet Butt also examines flowers as abused for the current social lie only to open back that lie and lay it out for dissection. Somehow the bloom itself floats free, transformative energies intact – an invitation anyone can follow into new and better worlds. For this final volume, Butt has done the paintings herself.
Seasons of Ordinary Time Robyn Marie Butt
By times compassionate, brave, and humorous, this bright and poetic collection roams from a little country girl to the urban party crowd, from rural teenagers’ drunken exploits to a Trappist monk – culminating in a connected series of longer stories about Beatrix Chambers, a young artist learning about love, aging, and most of all, about the meaning of family. The extended portraits of Bea’s stays at home, and her experiences of parents, grandparents, siblings, and cousins, are as flawless as crystal and as soothing as summer light.
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Buried Works from Travels in the Windowseat by Robyn Marie Butt
Buried Works is an essay from the collection Travels in the Windowseat by Robyn Marie Butt. Works of visual art inhabit three-dimensional space and writing does not. What an object can convey, without words, in space, surpasses the limping linearity available to writers of English: only sign language can describe, yet share, the properties of things which take up space. And where, for instance, sculpture by Michelangelo has the sensual dimensions in which to organize its message, writing has only this illusionary, forward-biting, encoded seam of words.
A Boularderie Island Press eShot. eShots are like eBooks – just shorter. If you’re looking for something bigger than a breadbox but smaller than a… then eShots are for you.
- Praise for A Hundred Poems About Flowers – the first twenty-five
“From the charming cover photograph to its last memorable line, this book of poetry is a true delight. …Each poem tells a story [that is] plain yet profoundly moving, as we see what she sees and embrace the feeling through her words. Robyn Marie Butt is a writer you will read over and over again as you find yourself cherishing the joy and wisdom of her words.” The Ontario Poetry Society
- Praise for A Hundred Poems About Flowers – the next twenty-five
- Praise for A Hundred Poems About Flowers – the third twenty-five
“Another masterpiece… What a brilliant idea to showcase Mary Dawes Delany and Edward Bach, two interesting individuals who used flowers in unique ways. Each gave me something to think about and to admire. Such patience and vision! … the poetry is sympathetic and insightful and invites readers to become a part of the poet’s story. Thank you. I wish to own a complete set….and to gift one, too. A treasure! … beautiful work.” Reader Feedback
“A Hundred Poems About Flowers – the third twenty-five is a very lovely, tender read. I enjoyed learning about Mary Dawes Delany and Edward Bach; and the near-holy love for these people and the real and imagined details about their floral world…. [These poems have] a will to hope, to remember, to be grateful for; and so magnificently just to look, to see – patiently, carefully. …a true writer.” William Davies
- Praise for A Hundred Poems About Flowers – the final twenty-five
I thought Mary Dawes Delany & Edward Bach would be impossible acts to follow, but finishing with [her] own art is brilliant! I’ve never really appreciated geraniums, but now when I see one I’ll think of it as “the flower that never gives up”. I always learn something new in her poetry but how did I not know about The White March? It boggles me…. “power of non-insistence” – Good stuff. Reader Feedback
… terrific, a very moving collection. “Rose: The White March, Belgium, 1996” very powerful, “Lament to Weedflowers”, “Grandfather, Blooming”, “Maya’s Dress (Daisies)”, “Alyssum”, “Waterlilies”, Hollyhocks”, “In Anticipation of Hothouse Bouquets Not Yet Received” and “A Hundred Poems About Flowers IV” my favourites… And who knew? a blossoming painter also: the bursting ‘let us become unreal together’ [Artificials] so rewards successive gazes; the painting accompanying “Rose: the White March…” very beautiful and interesting; ‘hums there still’ [Wild Rose] very lovely. The big one with “Garden Slideshow” deserves the perfect wall; the chair seat is stunning. Very expressive paintings and brushwork. Reader Feedback
- Praise for all four volumes A Hundred Poems About Flowers
I thought Mary Dawes Delany and Edward Bach would be impossible acts to follow but finishing with her own art is brilliant! … I don’t really have a favourite (flower or poem) but I do love what’s she’s done with them. And I’ll look at flowers more closely too. Reader Feedback
The whole project A Hundred Poems About Flowers is exceedingly well done… a person and poet who sees with ‘the eye of the heart’ as at least one branch of Buddhist understanding has it. …so wonderfully sensitive, thoughtful, tender and articulate…. I can only imagine how much time, imagination, and diligence has been required and I am happy to have read this work and to have it in my poetry stall. What seems to be true is that [this writer is] one of the ones who knows the way in which love and God and good are all one word. Reader Feedback
- Praise for Seasons of Ordinary Time
“Robyn Marie Butt’s Seasons of Ordinary Time introduces another daring voice… Butt has a gift for replicating the rhythms of speech, whether of drunkenness, the maunderings of an old man, or of a crumbling heart. And her three connected stories about a large and shifting family which makes elegant speeches but resides in innocence are nothing less than brilliant.… The intense perspicacity of these stories is a joy: Robyn Marie Butt’s writing is beautiful, alchemical, transformative.”
– University of Toronto Quarterly (UTQ)
“Lush, complex characters distinguish Robyn Marie Butt’s short fiction. Her ability to compel empathy through pellucid description, dialogue, and incident is disarming in its charm and flow… Short works foreshadow the mastery evident in a series of longer stories that detail the formation of the personality and character of a young artist, Bea Chambers. This is an optimistic and reverent vision of the individual person that is refreshingly sentimental and simply reassuring.”
– Quill & Quire
“… The best work of new fiction I have read in a long time…. Robyn Marie Butt has created a lyrical, poetic collection of stories where our familiarity with her characters and their stories is limited only by the 175 pages in the book. Even flowers, twigs and insects burst free from the pages, more real by her telling than the ones outside my window…. I’d give it a good chance in the Govern General’s lottery.”
“.. Stories are life-affirming and pulsate with joy in spite of the tragic circumstances impeding the characters… Butt’s imagery is consistently original, sharp and precise.”
– Edmonton Journal
“Painting powerful images or creating dreaming moods with her prose, Butt writes seamless and entertaining stories. Touching on themes of art, aging and dying, and family relationships, she creates a wide variety of characters… enchanting …. a delight in which Butt illustrates her keen awareness of the rhythms of language. This collection is wonderful, but the most pleasant surprise from Butt’s prose is her ability to put unnameable feelings and experiences into words that give the reader a jolt of recognition. This woman has written highly enjoyable stories that are sure to be re-read and recommended, at least until her next book is published, and probably beyond.”
– Canadian Book Review Annual
“In these stories, Robyn Marie Butt has achieved a magical synthesis of language and character, through which the particulars of ordinary time are transformed – worlds are created out of dust and a slice of sunlight.”
– John Mighton
“This is sensual, thoughtful writing, and the stories Butt tells of love and loss, self and family, life and art, remind our spirits how fabulous the familiar really is.”
– Daniel David Moses
Sample Robyn Marie Butt reading poems from The Next Twenty-Five below.