Coming July 2021
After thirty-five years as an “on-again, off-again, uncoached closet pianist,” poet and writer Robyn Sarah picked up the phone one day and called her old piano teacher, whom she had last seen in her early twenties. Music, Late and Soon is the story of her return to studying piano with the mentor of her youth. In tandem, she reflects on a previously unexamined musical past: a decade spent at Quebec’s Conservatoire de Musique, studying clarinet—ostensibly headed for a career as an orchestral musician but already a writer at heart. Both introspective and speculative, this two-tiered musical autobiography interweaves past and present as it tracks the author’s long-ago defection from a musical career path and her late re-embrace of serious practice. At its core is a portrait of an extraordinary piano teacher and of a relationship remembered and renewed.
PRAISE FOR ROBYN SARAH
“A poem by Sarah could fit into the palm of your hand … Wherever We Mean To Be showcases [her] gifts: her visual clarity, no-nonsense voice, compressed language, rhythmic prowess, and metaphoric agility. These qualities speak from a long-cultivated focus and bespeak a writer who pays fierce attention to the basic fact of being in the world.” —Anita Lahey, The Walrus
“This city, read by a kind of hidden code, seems lost in time; lives lived in its outmoded rooms have a timeless quality…the voice remains utterly its own, in pursuit of what Sarah calls “the lost soundtrack of daily life.” —Canadian Jewish News
“So assured and musical is the hand that shaped them that these poems tend to memorize themselves, as though they had always formed part of our experience.” —Eric Ormsby
“The cool delight of her poetry is to turn those subjects of routine forgetfulness into words that quiver in the heart… Sarah knows the language: its pressure points, its traditions, its crevices. Trained as a musician, she also understands flow and timing, when to sing and when to keep silent.” —Montreal Gazette