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dorenrobbins.com



Doren Robbins, poet, mixed-media artist, and educator
The poet Thomas McGrath has said that Robbins’s work is unified by both anger and love.  Other critics and reviewers have compared him with Francois Villon, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Henry Miller, and Gerald Stern, writers whose work is equally intense.  Indeed, Robbins is an ecstatic poet whose vision is uncompromised, whose poems are rich with extraordinary attention paid to the often undocumented, ordinary lives that deserve it.  His is a deeply rooted devotion, as is evident from his first collection of poems.”

               Andrea Hollander Budy
      
Encyclopedia of Ethnic American Literature
 


dorenrobbins.com

poet, mixed-media artist,
and educator
“The poet Thomas McGrath has said that Robbins’s work is unified by both anger and love.  Other critics and reviewers have compared him with Francois Villon, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Henry Miller, and Gerald Stern, writers whose work is equally intense.  Indeed, Robbins is an ecstatic poet whose vision is uncompromised, whose poems are rich with extraordinary attention paid to the often undocumented, ordinary lives that deserve it.  His is a deeply rooted devotion, as is evident from his first collection of poems.”

                    Andrea Hollander Budy
                           
Encyclopedia of Ethnic American Literature
 

dorenrobbins.com


Doren Robbins poet, mixed-media artist, and educator
"The poet Thomas McGrath has said that Robbins’s work is unified by both anger and love. Other critics and reviewers have compared him with Francois Villon, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Henry Miller, and Gerald Stern, writers whose work is equally intense. Indeed, Robbins is an ecstatic poet whose vision is uncompromised, whose poems are rich with extraordinary attention paid to the often undocumented, ordinary lives that deserve it. His is a deeply rooted devotion, as is evident from his first collection of poems.”

Andrea Hollander,

from the Encyclopedia of Ethnic American Literature
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You can edit text on your website by double clicking on a text box on your website. Alternatively, when you select a text box a settings menu will appear. Selecting 'Edit Text' from this menu will also allow you to edit the text within this text box. Remember to keep your wording friendly, approachable and easy to understand as if you were talking to your customer










New book from Wild Ocean Press



Twin Extra

The Poet and His Double by Uri Hertz juxtaposed with Portrait of the Poet by Mary Heifenstahl. Assemblage-photo with rocks and wood.
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Signed for $25. Contact dorenrobbins@gmail.com

Comments from the book cover:


In significant ways Doren Robbins returns to his roots in Twin
Extra, which I've always recognized in myself as Southern California roots. Contrary to the prejudices and clichés, I mean this in the highest, most positive sense. I don’t mean subject so much as the energy and vision that he creates here in a wide-open, roots-to-every thing aesthetic. Expansion. Not the tight-minded single voice aesthetic taught by most Creative Writing programs. This other voice that keeps coming through him, this worker-Robbins-character, his twin, his Extra as in a Hollywood Extra (or Comic)! As out there as on an LA freeway. Pushing the mind, the language, the knowable, in “the Kwakiutl Indian mask with no slits for the eyes.” The twin theme throughout, one’s twin “like the tongue knows the back of the teeth.” The absurdities, the “dipshitalore,” the passions, the maturity of a surrealist—one’s self and one’s reality. His intellectual, linguistic, vast roaming in these poems will blow you away in recognition, gratitude, and awe. What an accomplishment! What joy!
                                                           
            Sharon Doubiago

Wandering through Twin Extra is a delicatessen Walt Whitman, satirical yet dead-serious and playing for keeps, coming to grips with the infernal system of his life in a twentieth to twenty-first century ironically and grotesquely distorted American hell. We follow the poet on a kaleidoscopic ride through his personal and cultural histories, careening on a precipitous edge of critical delirium and self-mocking humor. The confessional voice woven through Doren Robbins' poems brings to mind, in a fragmented hall of mirrors sense, the self-revelatory stanzas in Whitman's "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," but now the river is underground, the ferry has become Rimbaud's Drunken Boat and the city is an infernal ruins populated with labyrinthine memories of alienated and damaged souls caught in the contradictions generated by dystopian late capitalism.


            Uri Hertz, Third Rail


Doren Robbins’s poems in Twin Extra make him the Representative Dreamer that Whitman alluded to in “The Sleepers.” The bed is just big enough for one reader at a time, so one must be prepared to share Twin Extra with one’s own harrowing solitude, and none other. The poems in Twin Extra are not meant to make you feel good about your generation, but only about your ability to generate a strategy of survival. If, in fact, these poems don’t remind you of other fashionable styles of verse, all the better. The last thing Twin Extra wants to be is a guidebook to the familiar. "I always walked backwards through the system / every system, / whichever way I took." Twin Extra reveals without any hubris whatsoever the working-class travails of an organic Jewish intellectual visionary. Take this book with you to some place that you want to be haunted by: you won’t return as the same person."
           
            Bill Mohr, author of Pruebas Ocultas and Holdouts: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance 1948-1992.

Imagine, at the very moment “the clouds eroticized the liquid” in your eyes, your eyes fell off into a crevice beyond your grasp. Then they stare back at you. They know what you’ve been and they’re wearing your new shades. Then you, blind in the glare, and fixed in a desirous gaze turned back on itself, imagine what they see. Imagine that; the poem, come again? Real talk. Part dreamer, part wanderer, worker, lover, like a best friend stuck between two friends who refuse to go along to get along, Doren Robbins’s poems spin the people-wheel of the self and chart the whole—the illusion of the whole—as the colors flash, the circle inside its circles. These poems know the shortest route between two points depends upon the shifting shape of the surface. In collages made from “the non-nonsense nonsense,” Twin Extra proves that, when wisdom, like a “gangbanker” smoking a Scorsese, says it wants you, and it watches you, but remains out of reach, it’s necessary to know which donkey can carry the donkey and which is the “usual abyss.”  
           
            Ed Pavlic, author of visiting hours at the color line



Hannah und Chet. Collage by the author.



Biography


There is a longer, more detailed critical biography on Wikipedia.

Originally from Los Angeles, Doren Robbins is a poet, mixed-media artist, and educator living in Santa Cruz, California. He grew up in the working-class neighborhoods of L.A. during a period of the civil rights turmoil and activism, the surge in counter-culture arts, and a strong influx of poetry through readings, mainstream or small press periodicals, and interactions at The Bridge, Papa Back Bookstore, and Beyond Baroque Writing Center. After twenty-something years traveling in the Mediterranean, Mexico, the Northwest, Colorado and Western Canada, his work began to reflect more on the formative experiences of imagination, character, and personality related to solitude, momentary and prolonged "mystical" experiences, family, marriage, personal-cultural ethnic history, sometimes integrating character-shaping experiences from his trades working as a broiler chef, saucier, pantry man, carpenter, and  college professor. A significant portion of his writing engages concerns over political and ethnic injustice. Often these poems are expressed through odes and elegies to family, people he grew up with, and to other artists, friends, and workers he has known. 
 

 In his early twenties he studied with Kenneth Rexroth at UC Santa Barbara in his weekly workshop (1972-73). after that time he moved to Santa Cruz, Ben Lomond, and then to Capitola. At Cabrillo College, following a performance of Chinese music orchestrated by Lou Harrison for a performance of Rexroth’s Tang Dynasty Chinese translations; Rexroth introduced Robbins to George Hitchcock of Kayak Press. Before going back to work in Los Angeles, Robbins met with Hitchcock and other poets and students at a “collating party,” and was later published in Kayak magazine. In 1976, Robbins, with his co-editor Uri Hertz, interviewed George Hitchcock for their own poetry magazine Third Rail.

 In his thirties, Robbins raised a family and became involved in construction and general residential remodeling. Through the years he continued to publish in a variety of magazines, completing three full-length collections before moving to Eugene, Oregon where he and his second wife, Linda Janakos settled for several years working while completing their graduate education, first at The University of Oregon and Portland State University, then at The University Of Iowa, Iowa Writers’ Workshop, MFA 1993, and two years of post-graduate work at Indiana State University of Pennsylvania, 1994-1995.

 Robbins started teaching a variety of college-level creative writing, composition and literature courses through an extended personal, cultural, and moral interpretation of Kenneth Burke’s idea of “literature as equipment for living.” His inter-active method of teaching has resulted, year to year, in a generally engaged group of students that have broadened their social understanding of the world they live in while developing their own personal tools for introspection through poetry and literature in general. During this period up to the present his best received work has come into print and received awards: The Blue Lynx Prize 2001 for Driving Face Down, and The PEN Oakland Josephine Miles National Poetry Prize 2009 for My Piece of the Puzzle. His current book, Twin Extra, was nominated for The National Jewish Book Council Award for 2015.

 Robbins’ work has appeared in over one hundred publications, including The American Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, 5 AM, Hotel Amerika, Kayak, The Indiana Review, Iowa Review, Caliban, Third Rail and Sulfur. As a poet and an artist Robbins organized readings and produced posters to benefit The Romero Relief Fund and The Salvadoran Medical Relief Fund during the Salvadoran Civil War, and for poetsagainst-thewar.com during the ongoing American-Iraq-Afghanistan Wars. His writing and magazine editing has been awarded fellowships and grants from Oregon Literary Arts, The Loft Foundation, The Chester H. Jones Foundation, The California Arts Council, The Judah Magnes Museum, The Indiana Review, and a few other inoffensive organizations and readable periodicals. Since 2001, he has taught literature and creative writing at Foothill College, where he was Director of The Foothill College Writers’ Conference 2003, 2006-2008. On three occasions, he has been awarded The Certificate of Appreciation from the Honors Society of Foothill College. Currently, he is involved working with “at-risk” students in the First Year Experience (FYE) Program at Foothill.








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