Robin’s poetry is stunning and beautiful and amazing, but that’s not why I came to hear her read. Back in 2001, I met one of her classmates from the UC Davis poetry MFA program, Susan Borie Chambers, at a fiction residency in Johnson, Vermont.
In 2002, I came to San Francisco for my very first time, and met Susan in the city for some shopping and drinks (although, since she was pregnant with her first child, I was the only one who drank the high-octane beverages), and we met Robin at Martuni’s, and then crossed the street for dinner at Zuni Cafe. Robin and I split the chicken-under-a-brick with bread salad, because Susan was fully vegetarian at the time, and it was one of the most memorable dishes of my life, and the first moment that I thought, “Hey, I could live here.” Robin was also a Stegner Fellow, and that fact inspired me to apply. The story of how she learned her book was to be published is one of my favorites, as well, and, well, I had been waiting for it to come out and for her to go on a local tour, because I wanted to be sure to purchase my own copy at one of her events.
This was the first time I’d seen her since I moved to the Bay Area. She’s pregnant, now, with her first, and the symmetry was kind of awesome. The reading? Also awesome. And I came home with a signed copy of her book and a boost (as if I needed it) to my so-far-eternal crush on the Bay Area and what it means to live here.