The Formality of the Page

The Formality of the Page

by Tobias Roberts


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The Formality of the Page is a collection of powerfully personal and meditative poems tracking the difficult emotional histories of ageing, love, family, and the artist’s life. Along the way and alongside these personal reflections, Roberts looks back on the many writers and artists with a role in shaping his sensibility, including Catullus, Dickinson, Melville, Hart Crane, and Wallace Stevens.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781628971859
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date: 01/29/2018
Series: American Literature Series
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Tobias Roberts was born in Rome, Italy in 1953. After returning to America for college, he graduated with a BA in History and Latin from Dickinson College and received a Masters in Classics in 1980. He taught Latin and History at Ohio State University until he decided to retire from academia and devote all his attention to his writing. The Formality of the Page is his first collection of poems. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

Table of Contents

Racing Thoughts

Fleeting Glance

On the Ugliness of Other Lives


A Brother's Remains

My Head Is Also in Clouds


Elegy for Hart Crane

Sestets on a Train

Watching the Sunset

Six Feet Down

Achilles in His Tent

Carefully Try Balance


Ivan Ilyich Dying

Henry Darger Searching Trash

A Neighbor's Note

Green Eyes

Night Again

Excursions into Philosophy

I am

The Rustling of Sheets

Dagger Moon

High Wire

Fear the Clown

Parting Gift

A Poet's Lament

In Your Dark Eyes

Game Over

On Reading the Idea of Order in Key West


By the Pool

On Youth and Other Failures

Dream Verses from Catullus in Key West

Path of Descent


Sailing after the Light

In a Study in Princeton, New Jersey: 1953

In Solitary


On Rereading Emily Dickinson

Cramped in Candlelight

Mirror Lake

Punching a Pillow and Feeling Afraid

Daemon Muse

A Judge's Eye in the Snow

On the Corner of a Bad Thought


A Spider's Fear

Behind the House, Beyond the Lake

Dreading the Dawn

Staring at the Ceiling

The House as an Hourglass

The Nocturnal Killer


The Fire

The Shut-in

A Hazy Mirror

The Psychotic Dr. Schreber to His Physician, Dr. Flechsig, 1894

Fear's Song

Bartleby Alone

Troubled Rest-A Villanelle

Black Roses

The Desk

The Uncertainty of Flight

Squinting Below Electric Stars

Gambling with Madness

At Sea in Vegas

Confused Proximity

Cannibal Passion

Wandering on the Vegas Strip

What's Seen and Unseen

Leaving Las Vegas

Medium of Exchange

The Leaf

City Nocturne Pantoum

Urban Pastoral

An Easy Breath

On the Inheritance of Guilt


Final Words

The Dark Hood

The Spark

Lines for My Mother

Words Are the Rain In My Head

Pursuing a Dying Art


Sestets on the Cold

The Moon's an Angry Woman

How What's Blank Might Contain What's Bleak

Revision-A Pantoum

Outrunning the Rain

Desert Queen

Dead Sea Questions

Letter to Robert Browning

Classic Ghosts

In the Ocean of Speech

Another Poem about the Sea

The Formality of the Page

Coda: The Endless Fall

1 The Descent

2 Into the Pitch

3 Mute Darkness

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