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Book Review :: House Bird by Robb Fillman

House Bird by Robb Fillman book cover image

Guest Post by Ron Mohring

Reading the poems in House Bird by Robb Fillman, I’m struck first by the conditional, how often the poems express hesitation: “as if,” “almost,” “half-believing,” “grip of hesitation.”

But it’s not doubt the voice expresses, but possibility:

“Then I imagine / what I would do differently” (“Toast”)
“He imagined the way he’d trail them” (“Summer Ending”)
“I see / that what they were offered was not quite / real” (Doo Wop Dream”)

This collection is deeply grounded in familial attachments, in parenthood and the small moments of daily life in and around the home (“My son’s hesitant Yes”) (“Promises”), moments made larger by Fillman’s attention, expanded by his imagination, so that what at first might seem tentative — “Probably by now, my friend / has recovered” (“Witness”) — reveals itself to be the product of close and sustained attention and imagination, the impulse to not only get it down, but to get it right. A fine debut.

House Bird by Robb Fillman. Terrapin Books, February 2022.

Reviewer bio: Ron Mohring is the founding editor of Seven Kitchens Press. His new poetry collection, The Boy Who Reads in the Trees, is forthcoming in 2023 from The Word Works

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