Book Reviews

The Clandestine Life of Paintings

“The Clandestine Life of Paintings, in Poems” by Robin Gabbert.

Review by Marianne Lyon.

Robin Gabbert’s Magical Ekphrastic book

“The Clandestine Life of Paintings, in Poems” by Robin Gabbert is inventive, otherworldly, and intriguing.

The poems muse duet verses with paintings. The marriage of these creative pieces invite contemplation. They invite the mystical to emerge.

The twists and leaps of Robin’s imagination are made all the more meaningful by the deeper truth of human feeling that underlines each verse. They journey us into painted worlds with words as our guides.

Her poems are written in sonorous fashion much like art songs. This partnering of poems and art invites the reader to recognize our shared humanity. They pulse with nature’s beauty.

Universal meaning danced my eyes from poem to painting to poem.

“A Collage of Questions” isa short-found poem fashioned from questions Robin asks in her amazing book. Let these queries invite you into her magical Ekphrastic Collection.

A Collage of Questions

Are you a comet shooting across the sky

so black and lonely?


I wonder if you were cold when you painted

the cobbled landscape of

blowing snow and barren trees?


I wonder if she can feel the warm glow from

the sunlit field radiating before her?


If she would step out of her painting

would I need fear for her?


What supernatural beast is this

that haunts me in my wooded sleep?


Does the wind hold you

suspend you in this moment?


The robins sing in the trees

do they know more than we?


Are you destined for Heaven’s choir?

Marianne Lyon, Napa County Poet Laureate 2020-2022, has been a music teacher for 39 years. After teaching in Hong Kong, she returned to the Napa Valley and has been published in various literary magazines and reviews.

Nominated for the Pushcart Award 2016, she has spent time teaching in Nicaragua.

She is a member of the California Writers Club, Solstice Writers, and Witness Protection Program Poets.

Marianne is an Adjunct Professor at Touro University in Vallejo California.

“The Clandestine Life of Paintings, in Poems” by Robin Gabbert is available on Amazon.

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