Reviews Of House Bird by Robert Fillman

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House Bird

I am honored to say that my friend and the brillian poet, Robert Fillman, continues to receive excellent reviews for his extraordinary book House Bird. Can all of you tell how much I like this book?

For those of you who love poetry, this collection is one you should have. I will supply links to reviews and Robert Fillman’s Amazon page.

Also, if you can do it, please be sure to leave a review!

Review by John Riccion

in The Night Heron Barks

Review by Brian Finelli

in Pedestal Magazine

All of the reviews and more can be found in: robertfillman.com

To purchase a copy, please go to Robert’s Amazon page: Amazon

back cover House Bird

Please  consider buying and reviewing this excellent book of poetry!

A Review Of House Bird By Robert Fillman

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House Bird cover (final)

Robert Fillman’s new book House Bird is an excellent collection of his poetry, and it clearly positions him as one of the best poets in the U. S. A. Mr. Fillman has previously published a chapbook, November Weather Spell, and between both books, he is clearly a top-level poet. His work combines honesty, observation, powerful images, and reflections on life.

Mr. Fillman explores what exists on the surface of life and what goes below it also. This is a powerful confluence that illuminates his experiences as well as how we, the readers, view the world. His poetry explores the ordinary in life and transforms it into the extraordinary.

It is difficult to choose my favorite poems from this collection, because they are all excellent. Still, I would offer “House Bird” which gives the title of the book and “Blessing” as my two favorites, but I emphasize that they are all excellent poems!

If you love poetry, please do yourself a favor, and get this book. You will see that Robert Fillman is an extraordinary poet.

terrapinbooks

Amazon

BarnesandNoble.com

fireflybookstore.com

A Poetry Reading by Robert Fillman

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(Candid By Liz)

I am delighted to report that my wife Liz and I attended a poetry reading by Robert Fillman at the Firefly Bookstore.

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(Candid By Liz)

Robb read from his new book House Bird, and it was wonderful to be in attendance at this lovely store in Kutztown, PA and to experience the poet giving us his poetry directly. Robb’s poetry is extraordinary and powerful, and I believe that he is one of the best poets in the U. S. A. Robb’s writing is compelling, honest, imagistic, and moving. If you have not yet read any of his work and you enjoy poetry, you should order his new book as well as his previously published chapbook November Weather Spell. He is a poet you do not want to miss!

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(Candid By Liz)

Robb’s books can be found here:

Terrapinbooks

amazon

barnesandnoble.com

fireflybookstore.com

Again, please order Robb’s book!

An Interview With The Poet Robert Fillman

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House Bird cover (final)

It is my honor and pleasure to interview the extraordinary poet and my friend, Robert Fillman. Robb is not only an excellent poet, but he is also a deeply talented teacher, a devoted family man, and an honorable human being.

Robb has his debut full-length collection of poetry, House Bird, available now on Amazon for preorder.  Like his other fine work, I am sure this will be an excellent book, and I am very excited to get my copies!

Fillman, headshot

CF (Charles French): Robb, welcome to my blog, and congratulations on your new collection! How does it feel to have your first full-length book of poetry published?

RF (Robert Fillman): Thank you for the kind words– and for inviting me to speak about my work, Chuck. I’m extremely excited to bring the poems of House Bird into the world. I set a goal for myself
some years back: to publish my first full-length collection of poetry by the time I was forty,
and I’ve managed to reach that goal with a few months to spare, so I couldn’t be happier
about its release!

Cf: Do you have a particular approach to writing poetry?  For example, do you focus first on an image and go from there? Or is your approach varied?

RF: I do have a basic approach. I tend to write each poem-draft in a single sitting. When I’m trying to write a poem, I can start with almost anything– an image, a word, a musical phrase that has been repeating in my mind, some fact or piece of trivia I’ve come across, a stray comment I may have overheard. I just need something to get the poem started. After that, I write my poems one word at a time, building phrases, and then lines, and then stanzas (if the poem calls for those), letting the narrative or the idea or the emotion (or the you-name-it) carry me forward. I never know where the poem is going, or where it will eventually end. It is as much a surprise to me as it is to the reader, and that’s the real joy of writing a poem. Every poem I’ve written has emerged in that fashion.

CF: How often do you write?

RF: These days I try to write poetry a few times a week. When I was younger, I maintained an almost-daily writing regimen, which, in hindsight, was probably self-defeating and unhealthy. I found myself growing restless and frustrated when I wasn’t meeting my self-imposed deadlines and writing goals, and looking back, even though I was publishing quite a lot, I wasn’t as happy. Over the years, I’ve learned that poetry needs space to breathe. I need to give myself the mental and emotional freedom to let the ideas simmer and bubble to the surface more naturally. During the semester especially, when I am teaching four or five courses, it is sometimes difficult even to find the time to write. So in committing myself to a few hours per week, where I am deliberately setting aside time for the craft, and not over-committing myself–I find that I come back to the work fresher and more energized.

CF: Can you talk about how you decided on the title for your book? Does it have special significance?

RF: That’s a great question. House Bird derives its name from a poem in the collection. It’s an ekphrastic poem based on the painting “Bird in the House” by the American realist painter Andrew Wyeth. When I wrote that poem I was trying to put into words all the subtlety and calm and sadness and muted tones that spring from Wyeth’s palette. I was trying to pull from thin air the unsayable narratives latent in that visual medium. I’m not sure if I accomplished the goal successfully, but I had fun trying, and I was proud of the end result. “House Bird,” I think, is emblematic of the type of poetry I try to write: understated, quiet, shrouded in what’s-not-said, things always left a little up in the air. I think a bird-in-the-house also works as a metaphor for my poems, which are often about exploring the beautiful ordinariness of domestic life. The same way that a bird may inadvertently venture into a domicile and, simultaneously, feel at-home and out-of-place in its surroundings, this is the unsettling tension that the speakers navigate in so many of my poems.

CF: How can readers find your book?

RF: The book has been published by Terrapin Books, and it is available for purchase from their website. Readers can also find House Bird on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble online. Locally, it is being sold by Firefly Bookstore, in Kutztown, PA, which is probably my favorite book shop in the area. They have a wonderful, friendly staff, and they are really committed to supporting regional writers. I’m honored to have my work on display in their local authors section. If anyone is in the Kutztown area on the evening of Monday, March 7th at 6 p.m., they should stop by for my book launch. I’ll be reading from House Bird and signing copies.

House Bird is available at the following locations/sites:

terrapinbooks.com

amazon.com

barnesandnoble.com

fireflybookstore.com

CF: You are also the author of a chapbook, November Weather Spell, which I will add is excellent, and I recommend it to anyone reading this interview. Can you speak a bit about this chapbook?

RF: Thanks for the kind words about the chapbook, Chuck. In many ways, my debut collection, House Bird, is an extension of the themes I began exploring in November Weather Spell—what it means to be a son, a husband, a father; how memory is fluid; the way in which the events of our past are always present, their meanings changing along with us as we age. The seeds of House Bird began with November Weather Spell. There are even a few poems in the 2019 chapbook which have made their way into the full-length book, almost as a way of showing how old wounds brought into a new light can alter how we see them, allowing them the space to reverberate in new ways.

Robb has given us one poem to read from his new book!

Blessing

Leaving the old place for the last

time. Got the trash out, a couple

boxes in the car, the final

walk-through over. It’s amazing

to see the place empty. I hope

the new owners will find as much

happiness as we did. As I’m

about to lock away the years,

abandon the memories of

dancing in the dark and my wife’s

full pregnant belly warm against

my ear while I listen for our

daughter’s first thoughts, I wonder if

the energy we leave behind

from living well is a blessing.

Just in case I rub hands across

plaster, squeeze every brass doorknob,

make my way outside, where I raise

my arms beneath the full moon, cast

a spell at the point of the roof

aiming to protect every brick,

every shingle of crumbling slate.

(This poem first appeared in Third Wednesday (Volume XIV, No. 3, Summer 2021). 

Once again, thank you to Robert Fillman for this interview! Please be sure to find a copy of his book. I am sure you will enjoy it.

A New Poem by Robert Fillman

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I am very honored and pleased to announce that my friend and extraordinary poet, Robert Fillman has a new poem out. He will also have a new book of poetry, House Bird, out in 2022.

The poem appears in Sheila-Na-Gig online.

CONFIDENCE MAN

I am very honored and pleased to announce that my friend and extraordinary poet, Robert Fillman has a new poem out.

After tossing my duffel bag
on the bench, I cinch the drawstring
to my sweatpants. And that is when
I remember the locker room
at the college: the sting of bleach,
the rhythm of slamming metal
doors, guys stepping out of showers
in towels, that long wall of white
urinals, each man evenly
spaced, holding himself, head down, not
saying a word, the loud whooshing
spray from a flush, my big brother
stretching beside me in his loose
tank-top and knee-length tennis shorts.
I hear him snickering as he
elbows me in the ribs while I
bend at the hips, Hey, here he comes,
‘Naked Guy,’ and I look to see
his thick head of white hair, still wet,
that seemed to brag to us younger
guys, his whole body glistening
as he strides out from the shower
like some minor god. How I’d kill
to have such courage, every inch
exposed, my eyes trying not to
linger on his shape, the brown age-
spots, trying not to think about
how those wrinkles and slack skin lines
are more vivid, more distinctive
with every tense step, every slap
of foot against ceramic tile—

Robert Fillman

Robert Fillman is the author of the chapbook November Weather Spell (Main Street Rag, 2019). His poems have appeared in The Hollins Critic, Paterson Literary Review, Poet Lore, Salamander, Spoon River Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review,and others. His criticism has appeared in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, The College Language Association Journal, and The Explicator. He currently teaches at Kutztown University, where he is a member of the English and Professional Writing departments. His debut full-length collection, House Bird, will be published by Terrapin Books in 2022. www.robertfillman.com

Here is the cover of his upcoming book:

housebird robb fillman

Update on Robert Fillman’s Poetry Reading

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Hello to all! There was a mistake on  the date of Robert Fillman’s Poetry reading.

The corrected date and the flyer appears next:

Join Robert Fillman on Zoom—Thursday, June 3rd, 2021, at 6 pm EST.

Robert Fillman June 2021 poetry reading flyer - corrected date

Here is a link to another of Robert Fillman’s poems: The Batter

See his chapbook November Weather Spell via Main Street Rag

Please check out this opportunity to hear Robert Fillman reading his excellent poetry!

A Virtual Poetry Reading by Robert Fillman

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I am excited to announce that my friend, Robert Fillman, is going to do a virtual poetry reading on Thursday, June 4th, 2021, at 6 pm EST on Zoom. Robert Fillman is a brilliant poet, and I hope you take the opportunity to attend and hear him delivering his work!

Here is a sample of his poetry:

THERE SHOULD ALWAYS BE TWO

ripe grapefruits in a glass
bowl in the fridge beside

a small note: Darling, you
can always count on me.


Scribble that to yourself
if you have to. Then spend

the morning in the tub
holding yourself beneath

the water. Listen for  
the cello’s womb bleeding

into your wrinkled skin.
Eyes half-opened, like rough

moss lining a clay pot.
Don’t get up to answer

any calls. When you fly
downstairs, there will be bags

of groceries already
unpacked, a bright kitchen

that you won’t remember
tidying and a fresh

pie warm on the counter.
Eat it naked and wet.

This poem was first published in Kestrel, Issue 37.

See his chapbook November Weather Spell via Main Street Rag

To attend, please use this link.

Here’s how to join us and Robert Fillman online on Thursday, June 4th:

RFillmanpoetryreading

New Poems by Robert Fillman

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I am honored to announce the publications of new poetry by the extraordinary poet, Robert Fillman!

“Witness” which appears in Split Rock Review

Witness

Probably by now, my friend
has recovered from the shock
of finding his pet rooster
headless and strung to the fence.
He has no doubt untangled
the thing, his bare hands perhaps
sticky with feathers and stained
with blood, the knees of his pants
maybe cool, wet from kneeling
on damp earth, having buried
the bird, taking care to smooth
the mound with a shovel, still
not realizing what transpired,
how he had hunted it down
before dawn and drunk with rage
bent over its body, choked
last crows from its throat and stole
the morning light from its eyes
before returning to his
home and probably crawling
into bed, without knowing
what he was capable of,
how late he’d sleep, what silence
would follow his every step
when he finally started
his long list of daily chores.

Three poems in hamiltonstone
 

Promises

My father didn’t talk

much to me as a kid.

So each sentence glimmered

 

as if it reflected

his eyes and not the mug

of beer lifted beneath

 

the yellow kitchen light

those nights on Union Street.

My son’s hesitant Yes

 

I would like that brings me

back to words my father

never said but guided

 

into me with his hands,

the even syllables

of a saw pulled across

 

a two-by-four, the rasp

of a taping knife scraped

over spackle, the smack

 

of an old baseball trapped

in the web of his glove.

Each act translated back

 

to a promise of love,

the only way he knew

how to cure the silence.

Omen

The mountain as severe

as my grandfather’s brow

in that small airless room

during his final hours,

I see a barn owl soar

out of the ridge’s mouth,

its big head, terrible

eyes cursing all color,

as if it were hell-bent

on draining the season

 

of red maple, black gum—

every leaf a target.

It doesn’t seem to know

the difference between

misery and mercy,

the living and the dead,

that my grandfather warned

Go easy on your kids

before he closed his eyes

and slipped away his hand.

 

My body suddenly

tight, bracing for a blow,

as if I am the prey,

a small, soft animal,

yet I’m surprised to feel 

a fluff of brown feathers

then a rush of wings that

beats on, flooding my ears

with what could only be 

the sound of a last breath.

 

The Vanity of It All

Two months into quarantine

and I’m still shaving my head,

scraping a razor across

the curve of my skull every

single night, the edge of each

blade sounding like my mother’s

cheerful voice those mornings she

greeted me at the breakfast

table with pink lips, bluish

black mascara, two eyebrows

perfectly penciled on. Her

uniform for a long day

of chores in an empty house,

the sagging clotheslines, the hours

of stirring sauce on the stove,

all the dirty dishes stacked

in the sink, my father’s shirts

piled for ironing, shower

and toilet always needing

to be scrubbed. In the bathroom

steam I’m staring at myself

in the mirror as I rub

a palm over scalp to feel

some small comfort. I lean in,

clicking my tongue if I spot

even one errant hair I

might have missed, those wisps I am

desperately hiding from

whom? My wife and kids? Maybe

a delivery man or

that nice neighbor who brings us

our groceries? All the while

my mind tries to smooth away

this human need of keeping

up appearances, this strange

compulsion to polish things,

with every swipe of the blade

memories of my mother’s

painted face reflecting bright

in the shine of a brass pot.

And two poems in Innessfree Journal

On date night my wife must choose

 

between love and food because
her body will not allow
her both, so I ask her to
starve herself in one way so

I can be satisfied in
another. Last night I grew
frustrated by her illness,
selfishly imagining

how every spoonful to her
lips was a cold betrayal,
willingness to twist with pain
on the couch and not with me,

heating pad strapped to her gut,
the nausea setting in,
all color drained from her face,
as if each little swallow

were another nail punching
through the white skin of her breast.
Now I’m left wondering if
my depravity caused this

crucifixion, how all she
craved was a scoop of ice cream
from the cafe down the street,
how I will writhe in hell,

be made to atone for these
wicked thoughts, no saint to save
me, no matter how badly
I hunger for forgiveness. 

 
 
Learning to Listen

I remind both kids to be
extra good today, insist
their mother doesn’t feel well,
that she has to stay in bed—
and hate myself for it.

            Kids
should be able to be kids.
But when my son suddenly
leaps onto the couch and makes
the springs cheep and squeak I snap,
ask why he never listens,
threaten to send him to his
room alone if he doesn’t
stop, my voice breaking apart
when I notice the redness
of his cheeks, the tears that will 
follow.

             Then I consider  
how only moments before
the three of us were huddled
by the window watching four
goldfinches peck at feeders
on our porch, how my daughter
said they were a family
flitting about, their frank chirps
a break from the hard silence. 

Robert Fillman is the author of the chapbook November Weather Spell (Main Street Rag, 2019). His poems have appeared in The Hollins Critic, Poetry East, Sugar House Review, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and others. Fillman earned a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University and is an Assistant Professor at Kutztown University.   

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Available for purchase at:

The Main Street Rag Online Bookstore

May Poetry Retreat 2020 With Poet Robert Fillman Leading A Workshop

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Robb Fillman
Hello everyone: My good friend and extraordinary poet, Robert Fillman will lead a workshop in an online Poetry Retreat. This will be a wonderful opportunity to work on your poetry.
This is being called “May Poetry Retreat” which is rescheduled from an earlier planned retreat.
Poetry Retreat flyer for august 2020 rescheduling v2
Here’s the info: 
May Poetry Retreat 2020 is a single-day retreat through Zoom.  Poets can spend the day generating new material, sharing their work, and talking with other poets.  Opt for any (or all) of three creative writing workshops, sign up for a spot at one of our two Zoom readings, or spend some quiet time writing.  We’ll also provide Zoom breakout rooms throughout the day for small group discussion on the side as preferred. Poets of all experience levels welcome.

 
When: Saturday, Aug 1, 9am – 3pm
Cost: $15

Hope to see you there!
Please remember to check out Robert Fillman’s excellent book of poetry:
cvrnovweather_bookstore

A New Poem By Robert Fillman

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I am proud to announce that my friend, Robert Fillman, has published another poem–“Losing The Bed”, and it appears here: Jacar Press — Robert Fillman.  This poem is both deeply personal and powerful. Please take the time to read it.

Robert Fillman is the author of November Weather Spell, a brilliant collection of his poetry. This book can be found here: November Weather Spell

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Robb Fillman

You can visit Robert Fillman’s website here: Robert Fillman. Please visit the extraordinary poet’s site, consider buying his book, and enjoy the poetry of one of America’s finest poets.

Please consider reblogging this post, so as many as possible can read  his work.