Thursday, November 19, 2015

Business Plan

Lately, I have been trying to be practical.  I have concentrated my attention on the business aspects of my artist endeavors.  I even began composing a business plan this week.  

For a break though, I composed a little poem.  The opening quatrain makes an allusion to a famous statement made by George Balanchine - "I don't create.  Only God creates.  I simply arrange."  Forgive me Mr. Balanchine if that is not verbatim.  

I like to think there is music in everything.  

Business Plan

Music is not a thing, it is a way;
the universe is entirely complete,
a perpetual motion machine,
the novelty is how it is arranged.

The ideas arise in everyone's minds
and they arise quickly and are as quickly gone
and with what we do, consider how it is done,
and how the multitude of ideas harmonize.

Between the margins of losses and gains
for any enterprise to be sustained
the primary concern is the way we engage
and success is defined in the manner of exchange.

So take note of the score on this page
and as much as what, consider how I say,
the melodic arrangement of language
is the musical way I communicate.

And when you try to balance the means to the end
keep in mind the way we comprehend
so what we accomplish is what we intend,
for the greatest benefit - the means are the end.

poem composed before noon, 11/19/15
in The Cartography Room, NYPL
Garrett Buhl Robinson

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Vive la France

My heart is broken for Paris,
my heart is broken for France,
my heart is broken for Humanity.

La Mer

for Prof. Claudine Armand

Receding inside the room of my mind
where I open my eyes into a place
I have never been, through the window's light
I look out on the sea from Saint-Nazaire.

Listening to the music play
on the radio's crackling frequency
I let my mind drift out upon the waves
in a vessel composed from a symphony.

Winds blow the foam from the crests of the waves
that rise like mountains then suddenly drop
plunging down slopes of crescendos' staves
with strings bowing into darkening troughs.  

On the swirling sea beneath the roiling clouds
my eyes stay fixed on the horizon's line
narrowing to a point on the stalwart prow
where the gathered sea meets the open sky.

And even on oblivion's cold void,
a single speck on the immensity,
there are endless bridges of harmonic chords
in the spanning beauty of Debussy.  

Garrett Buhl Robinson

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Compassionate Song

As I have mentioned before, for the past eight months or more, I have concentrated all my attention on the upcoming performance of my musical. From this, I had to divert my thoughts from my devotion to composing poetry. Occasionally though, I am brushed by the wings of the muses and immediately my attention turns toward the swift flight that lifts my thoughts into the bright, soaring heights where the music resides.

The other day, this occurred through one of my correspondences. I received an email from a friend and I was astounded at the compassion I felt in her message. The next day I responded and explained this to her. Then later that day, while I strolled through the Soho, a colorful string appeared in my thoughts and began weaving its way through my mind in the most musical ways while outlining some of the warmest images, threading together what I had felt frayed in dismay. 

Then riding the J Train back to the Jamaica Center, I composed this sonnet in my little notepad above the old brick buildings of Williamsburg on a gorgeous day.

- For Lee Christine Brownlee

Stumbling through the woods on a moonless night
among the fronds of ferns and mossy stone
I found a plume fallen long ago,
the only trace of a trackless flight.
Then with some twigs from the forest floor
still wet and green from last year's spring
and an unraveled quilt's colorful string
I wove a nest I left above the old barn's door.
Although empty when I turned away
I hoped some saddened thought would settle there
and find comfort from the frosty air
cupped inside the tender weave of strays,
then with the next day's warming light
dive into the bottomless sea of sky.

Garrett Buhl Robinson

Thursday, July 30, 2015

New Postcards for Musical

I decided to use a brighter image and edit the text in hopes of improving the postcards for the Musical.  
If anyone has any comments or criticisms, they would be greatly appreciated.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Trussville Tribune Article!

Thank you June Mathews for the wonderful article in my hometown newspaper - The Trussville Tribune!
Photo by Bob Kidd

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Mind Is a Metaphor

Maps Are Metaphors

Standing Out from the Slush Pile
Photo by Garrett Buhl Robinson
I have often thought of topography
to map the rough terrain of my life
where tight increments of lines steeply climb
and swiftly slide through creases of ravines
washing with the watersheds as they spread
in fanning planes that slip beneath the sloughs
of a glassy lake where the soft plop
from a raindrop sends ripples on the body
of water's settled, reflective repose
so the whole sky begins waving overhead.

Or perhaps these rings of lyrics outline
a mountain, tightening as they rise,
narrowing to one peak from every side
like the opening of an eye.

Garrett Buhl Robinson
July 20, 2015

This poem has an interesting story to it.  The conception actually arose from a typographical mistake that I made on another posting when I was recapping a conversation I had with a mathematician last week.  One of the topics we discussed was topology, although I actually used the term topography in the post.

The next day I was considering correcting this mistake, but when I arrived in the Cartography Room of the New York Public Library, the idea for a poem arose in my thoughts and I decided to draft it out.  Later that day, I had the opportunity to sit down and polish the draft, smooth out some of the seams and develop some more of the images.

As I have commented before, I have become particularly fascinated lately with how various media provide unexpected perspectives.  I hope that the closing of the poem provides some poignancy to the insight as it arises.

In this modified sonnet - the sextet is actually attached to the opening quatrain.  I used an encapsulated rhyme scheme to mimic the layout of topographical maps and the appearance of ripples on the surface of a body of water.  Then of course, the final stanza draws the alternations into a unified whole.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Shirley Parker Levine's Watercolor Paintings from the NYPL

Shirley Parker Levine, with the New York City Urban Sketchers, honored me yesterday by making me a subject for one of her watercolor paintings.

Shirley's work can be found at

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Letters to Zoey at the Trussville Library

The Trussville Public Library

This is where much of my love for reading was awakened. As I have told several people, when I was a child I was fascinated with a display of a train that was set on top of one of the bookshelves. It was always out of my reach though. That is when I realized that if I wanted to achieve the aim of my aspirations in life, I must do so by ascending the shelves, climbing through the books as the fluttering pages awakened my mind and lifted me higher. I am still climbing too.

Librarians Lindsey Kelley and Maura Davies

I have been brooding over these ideas for most of my life and they have gently broken out of their shells and it is time for these fledglings to leave the nest. I can't wait to see these little songs take flight into the broadening skies of the audience's brightening eyes!

My Number 1 fan with Ms. Emily Tish, Library Director 

Poster for Letters to Zoey is on display at my hometown library! Thank you to the Trussville Library. Great hat Mom!

Check out the Video Trailer for the Musical

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Letters to Zoey, Tickets Going Fast!

Letters to Zoey is one of the top selling shows in the United Solo Theatre Festival!  There are only 22 tickets left for the first show on October 17 at 2 PM.

I am having a party after the show and everyone in attendance is invited.  The party will give me an opportunity to personally thank everyone while we celebrate together.

As for now, I would like to thank everyone for their support.  I will continue marketing my books and promoting my show on 5th Avenue in Manhattan while I fill the air with the lyrical music of melodious poetry!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tickets Now Available for Letters to Zoey

Tickets for the World Premiere performance of Letters to Zoey are now on sale.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

United Solo Theatre Festival has accepted Letters to Zoey!

World Premiere will be Saturday, October 17 at 2 PM at Theatre Row.  
Tickets will be available soon.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

New Release, Broken Stone

Announcing the release of my new collection of poems, Broken Open

 This collection contains 56 poems most of which were composed over the past 18 months.  There are three older poems, one going back to 2002.  The collection is predominantly sonnets and a few variations of curtal sonnets. Included in the collection are a few freer forms and a ballad I composed on the folk hero of San Francisco, Emperor Norton.  There are a number of homages to various poets who have inspired me through the years and continue to inspire me.  There is also a couple of poems that interweave the scholarly thought of John Rawls whose work has intrigued me of late and whom I hope to study more intensely in the years to come.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Video Trailer for my musical, Letters to Zoey

This weekend, the new video trailer for my musical debuted at the Henley Flow Independent Arts Festival at Henley-on-Thames!  Thanks to everyone involved in the festival for presenting my work!!  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Henley Flow Independent Arts Festival

If you find yourself walking along the Thames this Saturday, watching the swans gracefully glide over the glassy water, make sure you stroll up to Henley-upon-Thames and check out this festival.  They have a fantastic line-up.  They are debuting the trailer for my musical, Letters to Zoey, too.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Sensible Proposal

The role that the performance arts provides for society is becoming increasingly important.
It is vital for our sense of humanity.    
Our sense of ourselves is stimulated through the life we share together.  

We need to gather for collective experience.  
We need to assemble into theaters, performance halls and auditoriums and share experiences together.  
We need to enjoy the comforting touch and the rapturous release in the beauty of expression.  
We need to squirm in our seats to probe the emotional and social reality of our lives as it dramatically unfolds upon the stage.  
We need to feel the elation of laughing together at comedies.  
We need to see the grace and beauty in the fluent movement of dancers as they press the limits of the dynamic and kinetic potential of our bodies and extend the range of touch to quicken our senses.  
We need to rush through the surges of music together, tethered along threads of melodies with lyrics weaving into plush fabrics stretched taut upon the rhythmic drums we bound along together.  

New technologies continue to develop in directions that often lead us away from ourselves.  There is no fault in electronic media as it opens new dimensions of reality that are broadening our lives in ways our predecessors may have never thought possible.  But the performing arts, the living arts, can help us balance our extending realities with a grounding in our palpable, physical being.  This balance will allow us to continue broadening our horizons, while enabling us to retain and to continue enriching a sense of the life we share together.  

Someday we may become our machines, but as for now, we remain organic beings and there are far more variables and necessities to our physical nature than what can be produced and addressed synthetically.  Technology will continue to broaden what we may think.  But the living arts will always provide us with what we may feel and know.  

This is more than a dichotomy between the rational and emotional.  Emotion is the foundation of our cognition; rationality is simply an elaborate construction from this foundation.  Ultimately, our most sophisticated and abstruse explanations are means by which we perceive the world, and this sense, as all sense, is intrinsically linked with how we feel.  

Garrett Buhl Robinson

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Living Arts

The task is daunting — to assemble sundry
eccentric pieces into a seamless whole,
a composite of ephemeral whims,
fanciful delights populated with spectral
images outstretched upon the tossing seas
of dreamy sleep.  And each piece is essential.
Then to lift this up onto the stage
and caressed with curtains, warmed with lights
and released to roam through the endless fields
of the audience’s converging minds,
bring this lyrical creation to life!
Listen to the sweet release in sighs of delight
as the touch of each tender phrase swells our
solitary bubbles till they pop with astonishment.

Garrett Buhl Robinson
2-5-15, 9 - 10 AM

Friday, January 9, 2015

An Ode at the Steps of the Library

As I prepare myself for my next poetic project, I decided to compose a portion of my journal entry last night in a modified form of Saphhic Strophes. I wish I knew the lady's name who made the passing comment, but I am immensely grateful. Really, people have been extremely kind to me as I have been pouring my heart out in poetry every day. As I have said before, just for people to stop and listen is an immeasurable gift and to see them smile with delight with every recital, is truly a joy.

Yes Keats

At my stand in the freezing degrees
to read the public poetry while they
shuffled by in their bulging winter bundles,
I sat smiling.

One lady quickly passed but made the point
that she is an author and had bought my book
and read it, then pausing and turning
on the marble steps

she said, “You are an excellent writer.”
before running inside and out of the cold.
Her kind phrase kept me warm
the entire day.

Behind me, I could hear the ice cracking
in the frozen fountain hardening into 
a solid, cloudy pool with a few flakes
of flurried snow

drifting in swirls upon the surface
at the bottom of an ornate basin
of stone overseen by a statue of a sage
making meditative

statements distilled from a lifetime
of careful contemplation, tirelessly
preparing for a perfectly illuminating

— a fitting figure in a frozen world.
Yes Keats, the wisdom is kept and left unsaid,
never disclosed or exposed to a world’s

retained in the perfection of detached
consideration. Let us chisel your name,
again and again, in the frozen flow
of ageless stone.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What the Simplest Actions Say

Every single moment of every day
we make a statement of our natural state
and the varied ways we socially relate
that through our actions we communicate
and despite whatever we may claim
our interest are with what we are engaged.

Even while we casually walk
every step we take as we make our way
is a definitive declaration
of the immediacy of our place,
the tempo and cadence of our pace
and the direction of our determination.

(a fun little piece I scratched out last night while waiting for the subway)