All the Relevant Gods was one of three winners in the Cinnamon Poetry Pamphlet competition 2017, and published in 2018.
“Taking nothing for granted, Robin Houghton employs her questing, unfettered imagination to write poems which offer the reader fresh perspectives on love, loss, adolescent longing, memory and the (rarely-visited-in-poetry) theme of corporate life. She’s a compassionate but unsentimental imagist; in ‘Searching for the Police Tower, Orford Ness’ — A concrete bunker’s dark mouth breathes a whiff/of dereliction, down among the yellow poppies — whilst in her irreverent exploration of the often de-humanising experiences of office workers, in ‘1 Poultry’ she invites her reader to Look out to where domes are clouds, /black antennas stricken trees, people/ blips fading from someone’s radar./A good place to fail. Confidently playful as well as seriously clever, these are poems that lodge in the memory and under the skin.”
– Catherine Smith
“All the Relevant Gods has an impressive range of reference which bestows a strong sense of authority on its tone. It is geographically various but sure-footed in its evocation of here versus elsewhere, and it manages to ground its more abstract references, to science and music, in a vivid concreteness, so that it deploys the specific to hint evocatively at larger concerns.”
– Ian Gregson
John Cage, 4’33” (1952)
He would staple a piano string to a cloud
in his empire of structured air – composer
of play nothing, suspend everything, the big unsung
serenade of O unravels. What do you hear?
Fricative chip of a cough, metallic snap stage left,
wet streets ribboned by tyre treads. Breaths
in the past tense, beyond useful. The ‘happy birthday’
you sang over tequila shots in Bangkok
which I don’t remember. Strangers crossing legs,
picking teeth. An age-old threat disguised as a cake.
A brace of whispers, an ice cream van – that smell.
I can’t tell if I’m thinking out loud. There’s a drill
at my temple, unhammering the outside world
into one tiny scratch as someone pushes back
their sleeve to reveal their watch, and wishes away
the awkward sounds of living. One unspoken and
hangs in an unreachable corner of the room
safe in the dust, needing no audience.
Is this the music we came here for? A piano grows old,
cars pass and people wait. Play nothing.
Suspend everything. Empty your head. Listen.