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ROBERT P. CRAIG - All That Comes, Goes: a mind-blowing work of genius.

ROBERT P. CRAIG - All That Comes, Goes: a mind-blowing work of genius.

(Published by, 2007, ISBN 978-81-8253-088-1, 48 pages, paperback, US$10)  

All That Comes, Goes is (in my opinion) a mind-blowing work of genius. Robert P. Craig has possibly created an entirely new genre in short literature. Through a succession of narratives, which can be experienced as either being connected or disconnected, the narrator (the observer) and the protagonist ("she") dispassionately recount the more or less mundane circumstances and surroundings in a way that both tells a story ... and does not. Every observation and - dare I say - "non-eventful event" seems to have equal weight. And yet, the passivity of the texts creates an engaging and somewhat existential sense of floating in the reader ... a space where both being and not being are purely a question of personal experience and where the individual creates his/her own reality. After a short while, I began to experience confluence in regards to who was actually "she", and who was (in fact) the narrator.  

I find the work rather disarming, and reading it brought back associations to passions from my early adulthood years: theatre productions by Robert Wilson, performances by Meredith Monk, reading Jean Paul-Sartre ... and psychedelic drug trips where the utmost attention was given to minute details, slowing down time and exaggerating the significance of each observation. However, the real fun of reading this book is when the reader stops looking for stories, and discovers how well crafted the individual lines are. 

This is a book that must certainly have many a reader offering his/her interpretations and speculations about the author's intent. All are possibly equally correct and incorrect. This is not an intelligence test, but it is a mind-twister. 

I would like to present two passages from All That Comes, Goes as an illustration: 


was a very quiet place, considering

its position, and perfectly suited to

her needs. It lay several hundred

yards from the small train station,

near a terrace of elderly mansions

cut off from the main avenue by a

line of plane trees and a parking

patch. The traffic roared past all

night. But the inside, though it

was a fire-bowl of clashing

wallpapers and copper lampshades,

was a place of extraordinary calm.

Not only was there nothing going on

there, but there was nothing going

on in the world, either. 


It was afternoon.

One of winter's periodic downpours

had begun.

It turned the city's cobbled alleys

into minor watercourses,

its flat roofs into miniature lakes.

The sky and the sea, both usually

the color of blazing blue,

assumed a dull and uniform grey.

Even the lofty city walls had lost

their proud, golden hue.

Melancholy, as well as clouds,

had settled upon the town. 

I rarely say this in a book review, but I will say it now: 'Buy this book! Especially if you have been telling yourself that you really do not like poetry.' 

- Literary criticism (2008) by Adam Donaldson Powell (based upon "All That Comes, Goes", published by, 2007, ISBN 978-81-8253-088-1, 48 pages, paperback, US$10)

ROBERT P. CRAIG  (USA) has written two books of poetry, and has authored and edited several non-fiction books and articles. He is a Professor of Philosophy (Ph.D) at San Jacinto College.