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4.37  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  18 reviews

One of BuzzFeed's “16 Best Poetry Books of 2015” and “24 Best Literary Debuts of 2015”

Robin Beth Schaer’s startling first collection of poetry, Shipbreaking, charts a beautiful and dangerous journey where seas rise, mastodons roam, aeronauts float overhead, bodies electrify, and a child is born as a ship wrecks in a hurricane. The speaker here is curious and fierce, consul

Published August 20th 2015 by Anhinga Press
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Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the great powers of poetry is its ability to instill and convey wonder. Schaer's keen, sleek lines cut right to the heart of things, like Basho's idea of slicing into a ripe melon, quick and certain:

For your birthday, a party

without you here: spongecake
and cherryade. Hope you were

given bread and molasses.
My love, remember, the polestar

is not alone, but twinned,
a pair of suns, guiding you North.

("At Home")

Sea-themed, but not strictly so, the book has a nautical mind, cutting gracefully ba
David Schaafsma
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
At Home

The copper carries my wishes.
A storm snapped a dozen trees
the week you left; the same
straight firs cut for masts.
The gazette held no word,
no sight of your sails. Each week,
my fingers traced columns of ships—
Flying Cloud, Lion of Waves,
Golden Empire—with titles
broader than their beams,
bold as thoroughbreds, as if
a name could seal a fortune.
My mind slipped to the ocean
floor, littered with wrecks.
I placed silver coins
beside your picture and knit
scarves until we received
the rattle and whalebo
Robin Schaer
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I spent ten years writing this book. I might be biased.
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Some of my favorite reading experiences are the times I come across a line that makes me stop and double back to reread it because it is beautiful and true. I did this several times while reading "Shipbreaking," and committed several lines to memory.

I loved this book. It's complex and beautiful, but accessible. Schaer has a specific talent for saying something simple and direct in a way that you've never heard before.

Several lines and images that really stuck with me:

In "Property," she waits a
Anthony Tognazzini
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book will make you feel as though a violent storm is fast-approaching, which it is, and that you are listing dangerously in the swells, which you are. Fortunately, Shipbreaking doubles as a life raft. These poems are fearsome, nuanced, meditative, tender, exacting, and necessary.
Rylee Bronk
Sep 30, 2015 is currently reading it
this book was very intense, because there was a baby born while a ship wrecked in a hurricane.
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful poems though sometimes a bit too dense and overwritten. But she moved me nevertheless and that's what I want in a book of poems.
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, poetry
My favorite poems were in the second half of the book, so it took me a while to decide how much I liked this collection. I appreciated the way the poems fit together--I fully understand that not every book of poetry has to or should work as unified whole, but I have a personal bias for poetry collections that do. I absolutely love the book's cover and title, which set the perfect tone for what's inside.
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book resonated with me in ways I am struggling to articulate.
It is the electric anticipation of an approaching storm.
It is the push and pull of wind and words.
It is the smell of hot pavement and ozone and it is the crisp sun and windburn of Winter one day after the snow.
Schaer's writing is startling in its elegance and power.
Erica Wright
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
These fierce poems show us that fear and desire can never be separated. We want the storm, yes, but we also want to survive its fury. Or, as Schaer writes in "Disturbance," "Current / is the cure for both a stopped heart / and one that beats too much."
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway.

Disclaimer: I've put off reviewing it because writing about poetry makes me feel woefully inadequate.

It's lovely and aeolian. It's bloody and bittersweet and hopeful. Read it.
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the most subtle and clear works of poetry I've ever read.
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-reads
I received this book from a contest. I enjoyed it. I have not read poetry before so it was very different to read but the verses where interesting and the content kept me engaged.
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I bought this book after reading one poem from it online called Natural History. Love the nautical themes tied in with motherhood and other elements of nature. I'm definitely a Schaer fan.
Karen Craigo
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Poet Robin Beth Schaer is fascinated by science, and her curiosity informs all of the poems in her stellar debut collection, Shipbreaking (Anhinga Press, 2015).

The poems are alive with precise detail and a sense of the poet’s insatiable desire to understand. She is adept at making connections, and maybe connection comes naturally, to Schaer and to all of us, if her poem “Disturbance” is any indication:

… We are
electric; this is not metaphor.

Each of our cells a tiny battery:
membrane the cardboard
Kristin Pinter
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. I had heard a lot of buzz around this book of poetry and was so excited when I received this in the mail. This entire book is beautifully written, well put together, and in its entirety, beautiful.

"...We said go slow but were urgent
as elephants, charging down
the power lines. Now the lights

won't stay on and the trees
are down. Sleep until you're done,
I'm awake, brushing hands along..."

To poetry lovers and haters alike, I think this book would have a
Brian Wasserman
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
word salad, pretentious. The poems have good form, and you maybe impressed by Schaer's word choice, but you'll find yourself exasperated at trying to divine the meaning of these poems.


Hammered by stars, the island bides
its solitude with sharp trees of parakeets,

prospect fires, and years of wind.
Even coral must dream of cobwebs.

Every breath powdered down,
a legion of waves forbids my face.

This shoaled world is a hoarse hum
of shells. A refuge in halves: I am

forgiven by water, but savaged by
rated it liked it
Apr 03, 2018
Angélique Jamail
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful books of poetry I read in the last year was Shipbreaking by Robin Beth Schaer. I keep it on my nightstand and flip to a random page sometimes before going to bed at night just to read a poem that will clear my mind.

It's one of those books whose poems are so finely wrought that their artistry emanates from every syllable without coming off as pretentious or too academic or more-poetic-than-thou. These are poems that feel intentional in their craft and heft, and which tel
Scissor Stockings
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Aug 25, 2018
Cara Stone
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Nov 30, 2015
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Apr 11, 2016
Joanna Valente
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Nov 22, 2016
Elizabeth Kadetsky
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Robin Beth Schaer’s first book of poetry, Shipbreaking, received the Robert Dana–Anhinga Poetry Prize and was published in 2015. She was educated at Colgate University and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She has received fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Saltonstall Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work

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“Current / is the cure for both a stopped heart / and one that beats too much. / And if it must be shocked twice, / the surgeons call it a reluctant heart.” 4 likes
“I want to promise you / permanence, my constant orbit, but even continents / are revisions. I am only your diving bell in water / hemmed by shifting plates.” 3 likes
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