Kenton Wing Robinson's first collection of poetry, The Water Sonnets, ranges from the satirical to the sensual, from the bizarre and surreal to the earthy. The latter-day sonnets in this exciting debut volume are marked by a wit that yokes the Metaphysical poets of the Seventeenth Century to distinctly modern voices such as those of John Berryman and Frank O'Hara. At times rollicking and at times melancholy, Robinson's work is always exciting in its novelty combined with many spritely tips of the hat to the ancients, Catullus in particular. John Surowiecki has this to say about the book: “Like a modern Thales of Miletus, Kenton Wing Robinson buoys his poems with a primal conceit: water as the basis of all things. 'We are, after all, but bodies of water,” he writes, “constant only in our inconstancy.” Robinson revives the traditional sonnet form, removes its prissy constrictions and, in the process, evokes the spirits of Homer, Sappho, Catullus and many others in creating a world of deeply felt love, small-town journalism (“We are whores who deal in words”), the mundane (covering a parade in Plainville) and the morbidly tragic (reporting on a young girl's suicide). The Water Sonnets also offers a view of natural Connecticut you've never seen before. It is, in a word, a delight.”

Kenton Wing Robinson takes his middle name from his grandmother's maiden name, as it was she who raised him, taught him to read and, when he was still a boy, introduced him to Thomas Carew, her favorite Metaphysical poet. He has written poetry since he was nine years old, and he achieved his first recognition as a writer in the eighth grade, when his English teacher intercepted a poem alleging she had sex with hippopotami. He has written reams of poetry since, most of which have been stuffed into drawers to gather dust. Always a bridesmaid, Robinson has seen three of his collections (Common Bird Songs, The Execution Club and What It's Made Of) be finalists or honorable mentions in various contests. His poems have been published in AGNI, The Worcester Review, The Litchfield Review and other magazines. An award-winning reporter and columnist at The Day in New London, Connecticut, Robinson has been a newsman for most of his life.

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ISBN: 978-0-9817883-0-2
76 pages, 6" x 9" perfect bound



Without salt, heart can’t beat, wound
won’t heal, skin can feel no skin.

We are two seas, more salt
than gray Atlantic, ½ cup to 9
pints blood. Cassiodorus writes
from Rome: “Some may not need gold, but who
does not need salt?” Not I, homo salax,

the salted man, the man in love,
castaway who drinks
at the spring of your brackish lips, would lick
all the hundred salts that crystallize your skin.

The sea moves through me, spills
into you. I taste my salt upon your lips —
fifth element — without which world would end.


Minor poet, major hack,
this my lot & no other. Not
the philosopher, author of great books, but
New Year’s Day &, gray at the temples,
assigned to write up the year’s first baby,
(first, at least, in southeastern Connecticut).

Hungover, I’m that leftover snowbank, black
hump in the hospital parking lot,
stubborn under a hoary sun.

Inside, it’s a girl, for a day immortal,
burning with the hunger of new fire.

& I? I will give her her 15 minutes.
Hello, baby,
welcome to desire.


Happily ever after never
happens but once upon a time. Leander
drowns; Hero leaps after, or, more likely,
lives on to answer the TV reporter, “Sad,”
when he asks her, “How did that make you feel?”

Ulysses, you come home at last, & your old dog keels
over joyfully wagging his tail. Sad,
perhaps, but you still have your Penelope,
more cunning than you remember, & there are suitors to kill.

After, you can get back to living, just be.
Raise some goats, grow some grapes, read
the news — Leander Drowns — in the paper.
The trick of swimming is to keep your head
above still water.

POEM (in the style of Catullus)

You, bent over your desk, pants
at your ankles, pant.
O, Clodia, no horse is a better mount!

Spring, & I’m pounding
down the homestretch — phone —
on the desk beneath you — rings.

No doubt your husband, Quintus,
demanding to know when you’re coming

Back arched, hard breasts swinging,
you snatch it up.

“For God’s sake, Q,
I’m coming!”
you gasp as I flood you with shudders.


I hate, Clodia — Why say ‘Lesbia’
when the world so long has known? —
hate that there may never be another
such slowed summer afternoon,

that we may never lie again in this bed,
shades drawn against this sun,
nor hear the mowers’ drone, nor feel the sweet
weight of our flesh ache upon our bones,

nor mock our dull suburban neighbors
their Sisyphean labors,
nor forget day in our artificial night.

O, Clodia, I hate.

Hate that I will not
again press my ear against your bare breast bone
to hear the sparrow beating so against its narrow keep.

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