Howard W. Robertson

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Howard W. Robertson

Howard W. Robertson (born September 19, 1947) is an American poet and novelist.

Early life[edit]

Robertson was born in Eugene, Oregon.[1] He married Margaret Collins on August 10, 1991 and has two daughters and two sons.[1] He received a B.A. in Russian (1970) and an M.A. in Comparative Literature (1978) from the University of Oregon as well as a Master's in Library Science (1975) from the University of Southern California.[1] Robertson is part-Cherokee.

He was the Slavic Catalog Librarian and Bibliographer at the University of Oregon Library from 1975-1993.[1] He is a past President of the Lane Literary Guild.[1] He has been a full-time poet since 1993.[1] Robertson was a long-haul truck driver in the American West during 1994-1995.[2][3]

Public presence[edit]

He is a 2007 Jack Straw Writer with Jack Straw Productions in Seattle, Washington.[4][5] Robertson read his poems at the 2007 Burning Word Festival.[6] Robertson was the Poet-in-Residence at the Henry Art Gallery on the University of Washington campus in Seattle during April 2010.[7] He gave a reading with other Native American authors at Tsunami Books in Eugene, Oregon, during November, 2010.[8]

Eric Alan interviewed Robertson on NPR-Living Large on April 18, 2013.[9] Robertson gave a reading as part of the Third Saturday Reading Series at Tsunami Books in Eugene, Oregon, on April 20, 2013.[10] He was interviewed about his novel, Peculiar Pioneer, on KLCC FM on December 4, 2013 and a recording of this interview is available on the KLCC website.[11] Together with his wife Margaret Robertson, he gave a joint reading about sustainability at Tsunami Books in Eugene, Oregon, on April 5, 2014.[12][13] Robertson read from Peculiar Pioneer at the inaugural reading of the Lane Writers Reading Series in Eugene, Oregon, on September 28, 2014.[14] Robertson read his long, philosophical poem, "Quantum intimations at the grand Multnomah", at the River Road Annex in Eugene, Oregon, on January 25, 2015.[15] Robertson read his long, philosophical poem, "Hope speaks of life on Earth", at the Lane Community College Downtown Campus in Eugene, Oregon, on December 1, 2016.[16]


Robertson defines poetry broadly as an inclusive genre, referring to the archaic meaning of "poem": a made thing, ποίημα.[17] He consequently considers each of his poems to be an ode, a fiction, an essay, an abstract painting and a jazz improvisation.[17] He describes his poetry as a mimesis of the streaming of Being through Nonbeing.[17] He intends a continuous poetic flow that pauses but seldom stops, so that his line-breaks become purely visual and do not halt the progress of the poetic line when spoken.[17] He means for his poetry to affirm with Aristotle that truth is most universally told through a blend of fictional and factual material.[17] He conceives each poem as an essay of existential discovery, an enterprising foray into the discursive wilderness.[17] He maintains that his poetry portrays visually the drift and swirl of the things themselves and the interconnected chiaroscuro of shadowy essence and shimmering everydayness.[17] He bases his work on the belief that reality never fails and that the phenomenal revelatory streaming of its representation in his poetry is authentic.[17] He credits Heidegger, Whitman, Pushkin, Bashō, Cervantes, Montaigne and Ovid as his major influences.[17]

His first book of poems was titled to the fierce guard in the Assyrian Saloon in 1987.[18] His second book of poems was titled Ode to certain interstates and Other Poems.[19] His third book of poems was titled The Bricolage of Kotegaeshi.[20] His fourth book of poems, The Gaian Odes, won the Sinclair Poetry Prize.[21][22] His fifth book of poems was Two Odes of Quiddity and Nil.[23] His sixth book of poems was Odes to the Ki of the Universe.[24] His seventh book of poems was The Green Force of Spring.[25] His eighth book of poems was Ode to Certain Interstates.[26] His ninth book of poems was Odes to the Ki of the Universe.[27] His only novel was Peculiar Pioneer.[28] He published a book of stories, Hyperzotica.[29] His tenth book of poems was Hope Speaks.[30]

List of publications[edit]

  • Ashvamegh (issue 1, February 2015, pp. 42–47)
  • Setting Forth (August 4, 2014; January 2, 2015; February 2, 2015; March 4, 2015; April 16, 2015; May 1, 2015; July 10, 2015)
  • Yellow Medicine Review (Fall 2013, pp. 117–132)
  • Yellow Medicine Review (Spring 2011, pp. 69–82)
  • Yellow Medicine Review (Spring 2010, pp. 178–184)
  • Literal Latte: The Anthology (iUniverse, 2008, pp. 203–208)
  • Where We Live Now (, 2008, pp. 393–400)
  • Snow Monkey (November 2008, webpage)
  • Jack Straw Writers Anthology (Jack Straw Productions, 2007, pp. 28–32)
  • SLAB (issue 1, 2006, pp. 11–12)
  • Square Lake (no. 5, spring 2004, pp. 52–53)
  • The Clear Cut Future (Clear Cut Press, 2003, pp. 90–103)
  • Tor House Newsletter (summer 2003, p. 3)
  • Hipfish (April 2003, p. 31)
  • Emily Dickinson Awards Anthology (Universities West Press, 2002, pp. 20–21)
  • Nest (summer 2001, pp. 129–132)
  • Literal Latte (v. 4, no. 2, November/December 1997, p. 16)
  • Nimrod (v. 41, no. 1, fall/winter 1997, pp. 113–120)
  • Fireweed (v. 8, no. 4, summer 1997, pp. 20–21; v. 7, no. 4, summer 1996, pp. 13–16; v. 7, no. 3, spring 1996, p. 45; v. 4, no. 2, January 1993, p. 33; and v. 1, no. 2, January 1990, pp. 17–20)
  • The Ahsahta Anthology (Ahsahta Press, 1996, pp. 204–209)
  • Pacifica (1996, p. 2; and 1995, pp. 3–4)
  • Ergo! (1993, pp. 74–76)
  • Croton Review (no. 6, 1983, p. 4)
  • Yet Another Small Magazine (v. 2, no. 1, 1983, p. 5)
  • Yellow Silk (no. 6, winter 1983, p. 5)
  • Negative Capability (v. 2, no. 4, fall 1982, p. 84)
  • Pinchpenny (v. 3, no. 2, April/May 1982, pp. 14–15)
  • Assembling (no. 11, 1981; no. 8, 1978; and no. 7, 1977)
  • Laughing Unicorn (v. 2, no. 1, 1980, p. 16)
  • Glassworks (no. 3, 1978, pp. 47–49)
  • Laughing Bear (no. 6, 1978, pp. 21–27; and no. 2/3, 1977, pp. 57–59)
  • Interstate (no. 9, 1977, p. 89).


Robertson's poetry won him the Tor House Robinson Jeffers Prize in 2003,[31] the Elizabeth R. Curry Poetry Prize at Slippery Rock University in 2006,[32] the Sinclair Poetry Prize from Evening Street Press in 2009,[33] and the Atlanta Review's International Merit Award in 2014.[34] He won the Bumbershoot Writers-in-Performance Award in 1993, the Pacifica Award in 1995 and the Literal Latte Award in 1997.[1]



External links[edit]