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Lisa Robertson’s 3 Summers

Cover of Lisa Robertson’s 3 Summers (Coach House Books, 2016). Design and illustration by Hadley+Maxwell.

3 Summers, by Lisa Robertson, with artwork by Hadley+Maxwell. Toronto: Coach House Books, 2016. 120 pages.

THE BOOK’S pink-and-yellow ombré cover—depicting that dazzling moment of the sky at sunrise or sunset—offsets a pair of white-framed spectacles with rose-colored lenses. The air here is so smooth and flat that the title can be scribbled onto it with a broad-tipped blue marker. In “Rose,” the final poem of Lisa Robertson’s newest collection, we learn that the speaker dons such glasses to an ambivalent outcome: “Yet after a full week of rosy vision, I remained surly and withdrawn as ever. . . . Looking through rose was ever more laborious.” Still, the book concludes, “Rosily I will squander myself.”

We needn’t work hard to connect these spectacles to art, specifically to poetry. (“As medicine, they were very weak. And they were ill-fitted.”) Does such squandering feel

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