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ROBINSON, by         Recitation by Author     Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Robinson" is a poem by Weldon Kees, first published in 1940 in the literary magazine "The Quarterly Review of Literature". The poem is often considered one of Kees' best-known works and is frequently anthologized.


The poem "Robinson" explores the theme of isolation and loneliness in modern society. The speaker describes a man named Robinson who lives alone in a house, detached from the world around him. Robinson is described as "a man of many sorrows" who spends his days in quiet solitude. The speaker wonders what drives Robinson to live such a solitary existence and what secrets he may be hiding.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: Free verse
  • Imagery: The speaker uses vivid and descriptive imagery to convey the sense of loneliness and isolation that Robinson experiences.
  • Repetition: The poem uses repetition of the name "Robinson" to emphasize the speaker's focus on this character.
  • Metaphor: Robinson's house is described as "a little island" which emphasizes his isolation from the world around him.
  • Tone: The tone of the poem is melancholy and introspective, conveying the speaker's contemplation of Robinson's life.


Overall, "Robinson" is a powerful exploration of the theme of isolation and the human experience of loneliness. Kees' use of vivid imagery and metaphor creates a haunting and evocative portrait of a man who has chosen to live a life apart from society.

Poem Snippet:

"Whenever Robinson has gone,

There must be an awful roar

Above, below,

And a wrenching pain in the air."

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