The Mansion of Happiness

Poems by Robin Ekiss


"Up from the 'dark shaft of regret,' out from the cage of 'love and rage/whose bars are meant to be broken' come the stirring, smart-as-a-whip poems of Robin Ekiss, poems that turn memory and the strange, not uncomforting burden of it up to the light of reason—and to an acknowledgment of reason's limits—poems that argue not for 'the beautiful face of forgetting,' and not so much for love's rescuing powers, but for a belief that 'we have the machinery necessary for [love]'—without which, how is rescue possible? The Mansion of Happiness is a wondrous, instructive, and everywhere graceful book and marks the arrival of a confident and haunting new voice."
—Carl Phillips, author of Speak Low

"Robin Ekiss’s haunting first book is replete with miniatures, with dolls and toys, with magic acts and mysterious maternal passageways. She treads the impassable route back to childhood ('the past is another country') and finds that 'the pastness of the past/isn’t trapped in glass.' It’s magical to find a first book that is, as Robert Frost put it, 'play for mortal stakes.'"
—Edward Hirsch, author of Special Orders

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Robin Ekiss's meditations on memory and mortality are a canary in the coal mine of imagination. With disembodied dolls, dank Parisian catacombs, the gilded interior of a Fabergé egg, and the unfathomable edge of Niagara Falls as the dominion of these poems, reading Ekiss's work is like peering into the perfectly still world of a diorama or daguerreotype: an experience both uncanny and uncompromising.
The VQR Poetry Series

Page count: 64 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $19.95

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Robin Ekiss has received a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award for Emerging Women Writers. Her poems have appeared widely, in the Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, New England Review, and elsewhere. She lives in San Francisco, California.