aWhen he arrived in Los Angeles after a long train journey, Walker saw orange and avocado trees in the warm sunlight, promising land for his new future. A few streets away, then beggars and prostitutes, GIs and Dockers, a diverse hustle and bustle of people making their way through the raving of unfulfilled dreams in the City of Angels. Walker spends the first night at the movies.
Walker is the hero of Robin Robertson’s long narrative poem “How to lose more slowly,” now published by Hanser in German and translated by Ann Christine Maytag. The veteran veteran of the Northern Nova Scotia Highlanders arrived in New York after the end of World War II and then to Los Angeles, a city haunted by Walker with memories of his childhood in the Canadian province and the trauma of the war. By Walker’s arrival in the spring of 1948 known only from films. Here he searches for redemption, change, freedom and healing. He is looking for signs of a benevolent world. With a wolf seeing him on one of his nightly tours of old Los Angeles, “The Lost City, the Corrupt City, the Notorious City,” Chandler said of the Bunker Hill residential area, where Walker has since found a cheap room Robertson paints a seemingly ominous picture that does not seem to emanate From the darkness of the night alone. The wolf is tall and agile, with neon light reflected in its eyes.
As a crepuscular event that happens just as unexpectedly as it suddenly disappears, The Predator is a mantra for a poetics that underlies not only Robertson’s poetry, but also his many years as editor and publisher of Jonathan Cape’s imprint, which has been a part of Vintage Books since 2019. Says Robertson, born In Northeast Scotland in 1955: ‘In Search of Power’. “I want to be surprised. I don’t want to read words like this before. I’m looking for something strange, some kind of electrical tension, whether in my own thing or in other people’s things.”
Formative Editor in Great Britain
In the summer of 2014 he was sitting in his London office talking about his work. On the walls are shelves with books by John Burnside, the Kennedy family, Anne Enright, and other writers that Robertson has published in the Cape – most of them from the former periphery of the literary landscapes that took place around London and South England’s Underland. Since the success of “Trainspotting,” Irvin Welch’s famous novel, published by Robertson in 1993 with Secker & Warburg, he was one of the principal editors of the British publication and paved the way for a literary “Scottish Renaissance”, which ultimately is also attributed to his lyrical work.
After studying in Aberdeen and at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, Robertson began working in the editorial department on Penguin Books in 1978 and quickly published his first poems in magazines. But it wasn’t until 1997, when he was 41, that his first book, A Colorful Field, appeared. Since then, other volumes of poetry have followed, and in 2013 “Am Robbenkap” in German, a choice Jan Wagner got from Hanser.