By Jennifer Ware
Dr. Liz Robbins, an English instructor, is in the midst of publishing her first book of poetry, Hope, As the World is a Scorpion Fish. Robbins teaches Intro to Poetry Writing, Advanced Poetry, American Literature Survey, Modern Poetry, World Literature and English Composition classes.
Robbins has already been published in a number of individual journals. “That’s how the poetry [world] works. You have to prove yourself in the smaller journals first,” she said. Her work has been published in journals such as The Chattahoochee Review and Natural Bridge.
She described her book and how it’s broken into different parts. “The first section contains poems with sexual themes; the second, various love poems; the third, feminist themes; the fourth, art themes (ekphrastic poems); and the last is a miscellany.” The order of the book’s sections may change again during the publishing process.
Robbins said one of the most challenging things about writing a book of poetry is constantly striving to write in a different way and experimenting. “You go through phases where you like the stuff you’re writing and [you] find ways to merge your favorites,” Robbins said.
The book is geared toward all readers, with poetry and ideas that everyone can relate to on a different level. There are poems that appeal to the inexperienced poet as well as the more avid poetry reader and writer. For example, some of the art poems can be more enjoyable to the reader if they know about the artwork being mentioned. Some of the poems vary in terms of style, including free verse, sonnets and villanelles.
Robbins has been an adjunct professor at Flagler since 2000, and became a full-time faculty member last fall. She taught at the University of North Florida before attending Georgia State University to receive her PhD. “[It’s a] much better [atmosphere] at a smaller college. It gives me a chance to get to know the students better,” Robbins said.
In classes, Robbins wants her students to be aware of current poets while also focusing on certain poetic styles. “Their free verse writing improves when they practice writing in other styles, such as using formal meter and rhyme,” she said.
Manila Clough, an artist and friend of Robbins, is doing the artwork for the book, drawing a series of eight different scorpion fish. The editor will put them together for the cover of the book, which should be finished this fall.
Robbins’ husband, Donald Robbins, coaches the Flagler College golf team and is also a math teacher here. He refers to his wife as a “one-tracker,” meaning she spends most of her time engaged with poetry in different ways, from researching publishers, to writing, to preparing for classes.
The writer also volunteers at Ketterlinus Elementary School’s enrichment program with her friend, Kim Bradley, an English adjunct instructor at Flagler, where they teach poetry writing to students. In her free time, she enjoys researching on the Internet, watching films and working out.