Joshua Robbins’s much anticipated and smartly provocative second book, Eschatology in Crayon Wax, evokes a feeling of being caught between a fragile yearning to be transformed and a whirlwind of botched divinity. Robbins faithfully asserts, “Paradise / doesn’t care / how you get there. / Only that you try,” and is met with divine contempt and a commandment to “shape ashes into ashes” because “besides / I can’t tell you what on earth I’m doing.” In the world of these poems, all one can do is survive the contradictions and cruel inscrutabilities embedded in a contemporary life of vacant tract houses, RFID, mall shooting bullet casings, drone targets, miscarriages, divorce, and suicide. These poems are in deep conversation with the theodicies of the book of Job, evangelicalism, class theory, and even the manic crises of Berryman’s Dream Songs. At times elegiac, always fearlessly confessional, even tragicomic, Robbins does not resist hope. With intelligence and style to spare, Robbins shows a fierce concern for this world of things, caught as we are between what is and what should be.
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Published by Texas Review Press