CELEBRATING AMERICAN SHE-POETS (33): Renee Robinson, Shadows of the Heart
“I find myself “Dancing With Cancer”, problem is…I can’t dance. I stumble, bumble, and get pulled along. To keep my sanity, (humor me), I write short stories, a journal, musings and poetry….just about anything goes.” Renee Robinson
I’ve spent some time recently in hospitals and specialty clinics. It’s always heartening to witness how remarkably resilient some folks are, how they deal with their trials in good spirit. They remind me of one special person, a blogger and poet you might remember. With utter grace, she dealt with the fallout from a devastating disease. She was Renee Robinson.
A few years ago, I’m not sure why or how the impulse came to me, I suddenly had to see if Renee’s blog was still up. I discovered her WordPress domain had expired. Her other blog and Twitter account hadn’t seen posts since August 2014. It also appeared that no books were published after that date. Finally I searched for and found an obituary. Renee died in September 2014.
For about four years many of us watched this young woman produce a staggering amount of work, taking refuge in poetry as she struggled with metastatic colon cancer.
“Life is ever-changing. It is what we make of it. Though I have no control of when my life will end, I can paint my words out on a canvas. I can show my love for my family with each stroke.”
Renee’s love of writing combined with the knowledge that her life was on the wane. In this last thing, she was only different from her readers in that she was no longer in denial and was using her time consciously to do what she wanted most to do and to leave behind her own special blessings.
Renee self-published several poetry collections. The one I selected to read some years ago was Shadows of the Heart, which is still on my Kindle. The operative word here is not “shadow,” it’s “heart” . . . a collection of poems from a big heart evolved from a deeply prolific rhizome of courage. In that book were the young shoots and the adventitious roots of an old soul.
Renee’s poetry was that of someone with a passion and talent for writing and not enough time on this earth to refine either. Having said that, the collection is notable for its unbearably naked emotion: pain, fear, remorse, courage, gratitude, and for the intense feelings arising out of her unshakable affection and appreciation for her husband.
In 2013 and 2014, Renee self-published a series of Captain Chemo books for children. According to Amazon, they’re in Amazon’s Top 100 in Children’s Book Sales. Brava, Renee!
A magickal night
When death is life
And dark is light
Time stands still
Hail! The Samhain Night!
Two Souls, One Life
© 2013 Renee Robinson estate, Shadows of the Heart
Words © Jamie Dedes; Photo credits (portrait and cover art), ©Renee Robinson estate
Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded. I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, Second Light, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”
The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others
“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA
“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton