November 07, 2004

Robinson's People

Scattered throughout the log walls of my house are an assortment of pottery faces that I’ve acquired from various artisans over the years. Their slightly exaggerated expressions are alternately sly, bemused, sarcastic, disappointed, ecstatic and guilty. My favorite is a large face that resembles my bespectacled dad (bemused) and presides over my kitchen from its vantage point above my stove. I love them because they so honestly reflect the full range of human emotion and experience. I feel the same way about Robinson’s characters.

The folks in Robinson’s poems have all in some way been beaten down by life. The themes of aging, job displacement, facing one’s own mediocrity, bitterness and regret are something even the most talented and fortunate of us will likely experience at some point in our lives. And it’s our responses to these inevitable setbacks that in part shape who and what we will become. Sadly, these characters seem to have given up.

Miniver Creevy longs for an exiting life that he fancies existed in the “days of old”. He seems to have spent a lot of energy ruminating over it for “He wept that he was ever born”. He fantasizes about bright swords and being “a warrior bold”. He would like to have “sinned incessantly” if only he had been a Medici. Like so many people stuck in a career rut, he “scorned the gold he sought, But sore annoyed was he without it”. He curses his mediocrity and regards his “khaki suit with loathing”. Lacking the vision or courage to change his circumstances, in the end he scratches his head, decides this is his lot in life and keeps on drinking. (Or as many a Leechburger has been heard to say while swilling down an Iron City, “Eh, whaddya gonna do?”)

Richard Corey is so skilled at projecting the image of success and satisfaction that he is admired and envied by all. Yet he has no authentic sense of happiness and inexplicably blows his brains out. How many people who seem to “have it all” are really functioning with “quiet desperation”?

Many of these characters remind me of people I’ve known and cared about; some of them long time customers whose life stories I’ve been privy to for years. In a sense I guess, like my faces, I collect people, or their stories. And there’s so many unhappy ones.

Posted by LindaFondrk at November 7, 2004 02:12 PM


I really understood the texts after the class discussion. However, there is one question that I really don't know the answer to. Why did the author make the readers believe that both the miller and his wife committed suicide? I know according to Locklear's article, it is not true. But I don't know why the author chose this approach. Also, which readings did you enjoy?

-Nabila :)

Posted by: NabilaUddin at November 8, 2004 04:55 PM

Who knows...maybe just to add a bit of ambiguity. Linda

Posted by: Linda Fondrk at November 8, 2004 07:21 PM


I love how you worded your paragraph on Richard Corey. It makes one wonder....yes, there might be a facade of happiness....but what's under the surface. It is soooo important to get to know people better, to actually care for them. A sad poem, but well-stated none the less :)


Posted by: Katie Aikins at November 10, 2004 10:36 PM

You always have awesome blogs! I really liked how you started your paragraph talking about the different pottery faces that you have and how you applied them to Robinson's characters, and then applied Robinson's characters to life. Robinson's characters reflect certain personalities that we are all familar with. For example, I think we everyone can relate Miniver Creevy to an uncle they have or someone they know. It's funny b/c I definatly have an uncle that bears Creevy's same characteristics!!!

Posted by: Jessica Zelenak at November 30, 2004 12:22 PM

It's so sad, but sometimes as you said we do seem to collect the stories of people in our lives. Sometimes those are sad stories become a part of us and teach us a lesson that maybe we need to learn, or even help us to help a friend that may have a similar situation as someone else we might have known in the past. It's amazing how we can take people's stories and use them to our own advantage while still helping the person that told the story while listening to what they have to say.


Posted by: Tiffany at November 30, 2004 02:16 PM

Just a pointer- I thought the name of the poem was "Miniver Creevy" as you wrote, so at least I found it through google, but as your link has, it's "Cheevy".

Posted by: Rachelle at January 1, 2006 11:18 PM
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