Robyn Sarah

Robyn Sarah, poet, short-story writer (born at New York, NY, 1949). Educated at MCGILL UNIVERSITY and la Conservatoire de musique du Québec, Robyn Sarah began publishing POETRY in the 1970s while she completed her graduate studies. Her formalist work often expands upon everyday experience through close observation and extrapolation, following her own edict to "Make much of something small."

In 1976 Robyn Sarah and Fred Louder co-founded a SMALL PRESS, Villeneuve Publications, which operated until 1987. Sarah co-edited the poetry chapbook series, which produced titles from poets such as Bruce Taylor and A.F. MORITZ. Throughout these years Sarah also taught English literature at Champlain Regional College, until 1996. She continues to work in publishing: currently the poetry editor for Cormorant Books, Sarah has also edited several volumes of the "Essential Poets" series from Porcupine's Quill, including The Essential George Johnston (2007), The Essential Don Coles (2009), and The Essential Margaret Avison (2010). She also edited the 2011 collection Undercurrents: New Voices in Canadian Poetry.

Robyn Sarah's first full-length collection, The Space Between Sleep and Waking (1981), explored the passage of time. Her next collections, Anyone Skating on That Middle Ground (1984) and Becoming Light (1987), celebrate the ordinary surfaces and objects of our daily lives, where "things may be taken at face value" and the attentive onlooker may discover "always a / small surprise."

Her poems reveal a quiet, engaging intelligence alert to points of mutability and the intersection of different realities, such as the space "Where hot meets cold / at the window." She draws upon these themes in her collections, including The Touchstone: Poems New and Selected (1992); Questions about the Stars (1998), which incorporates text from Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time; A Day's Grace (2003); Le tamis des jours, a selection of poems in French translation with parallel English text (2007, tr. Marie Frankland); and Pause for Breath (2009).

Robyn Sarah has written extensively about poetry in newspapers and magazines in Canada and the United States, and select essays were reprinted in Little Eurekas: A Decade's Thoughts on Poetry (2007). She has also published two collections of short stories, A Nice Gazebo (1992) and Promise of Shelter (1997).

Widely recognized and anthologized, Robyn Sarah has won awards for each of the genres in which she works. In 1990 she won the CBC literary competition for poetry; her short story "Accept My Story" won a National Magazine Award in 1994 and Promise of Shelter (1997) was short-listed for the 1998 QSPELL award for the best English-language fiction written by a Québec author. Sarah lives in Montreal.