Soundtrack to a Mind: Elizabeth Robinson

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"It ain't necessarily so" by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong on Grooveshark

I’m preaching this sermon to show it ain’t necessarily so.

If you can get past the bombastic orchestral introduction, Ella’s voice will pull you in and unbutton your shirt. Who knew that aporia could be so sexy? That skepticism could be so responsive and shapely?

They tell all the children the devil’s a villain, but it ain’t necessarily so.

Oh, the hinge of her voice sliding between possibility and doubt.

When Louis comes gravelling in to tell us that Jonah made his home in

that fish abdomen, how it is possible to avoid feeling transported within

a slick, velvety refuge that defies its own improbability?

The things that you’re liable

to read in the bible:

it ain’t necessarily so.

Ella’s voice breaks any given syllable into hues and stresses that one could never anticipate but by which she proves:

I take that gospel whenever it’s poss’ble but with a grain of salt.

But then again, I’m preaching this sermon to show

it ain’t necessarily so.

Elizabeth Robinson is the author of eleven books of poetry. Her most recent books are Three Novels (Omnidawn), The Orphan & its Relations (Fence Books) and Also Known As (Apogee Press). Robinson was educated at Bard College, Brown University, and the Pacific School of Religion. She has been a winner of the National Poetry Series for Pure Descent and the Fence Modern Poets Prize for Apprehend. The recipient of grants from the Fund for Poetry and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Robinson has also been a MacDowell Colony Fellow. Her work has been anthologized in the Best American Poetry (2002) and American Hybrid, along with many other anthologies. Robinson has taught at the University of San Francisco, the University of Colorado, Boulder, Naropa University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She co-edits EtherDome Chapbooks with Colleen Lookingbill and Instance Press with Beth Anderson and Laura Sims.

Clive James "Jonah and the Whale" 11x14 inches, 1987

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