About Me

My name is Amy Elizabeth Robinson, and for a long time I lived in the eastern mountains of Sonoma County, California, until my family’s home and community were lost to wildfire. I often woke to the sound of towhees piping, wind blowing through the firs, or my children asking to snuggle in bed. Now I wake to morning traffic, white-crowned sparrows, and children who are strangely close to being small adults.

I am a poet, writer, reader, historian, and many other things. I study Zen and the creative process with Rachel Boughton, Roshi at Flower Mountain Zen, which helps me keep my mind open and my feet on the ground, and to enjoy the ride when they are not.

I was a founding editor of the Pacific Zen Institute’s online magazine of Zen and the arts, Uncertainty ClubNow I just write.

I have several degrees in history, from Princeton and London and Stanford. Then I took a left turn of sorts and ended up with a big, roomy, creative life. Here I am.

Thank you so much for your companionship in this gorgeous, troubled world.

10 thoughts on “About Me

  1. So glad you are writing. I was needing more support when it comes to using language fluidly. For instance, the word ‘unanimous’ – we all use this word. I’m interested in improving my conjugation. Like, “in a rare case of unanimity the American House and Senate voted in favor of the motion.” I am interested in increasing my tool box so I can flow more fluidly when writing and telling stories.

  2. Oh, Peg. Thanks so much. Your birthday poetry/dance courage has stayed with me and been such a source of strength and inspiration. Thanks for all you have brought to my life!

  3. Dear Amy, When Thea and I left Monan’s Rill on Saturday, I found myself wishing I had asked you more about your writing. I love your horse poem and your words about how it came to be and look forward to reading more of your blog and seeing you and your beautiful family again. I, too, have felt blocked in sharing my songs, poems, and writing with the world. I am inspired reading about your journey and tasting the fruit that your trust in your process is bearing and sharing with the world.

  4. Your poetry and words are as comfortable as a well worn t-shirt. I discovered you today on Rattle and I look forward to learning more.

    • Dear Bill –
      What wonderful words to wake up to! Thank you so much for reading my poem and words, and it feels good to hear your describe my work that way. I do think I have a rather earnest, direct style that has that tee-shirt quality, but I never thought of it that way. So thanks!
      All the best in these challenging times –

  5. Dear Amy,
    I just read your letter to Rebecca Solnit, with your swim in the Loch Ness monster koan. I enjoyed your words and thoughts as they are not desparate, but are rather matter of fact in that way we can look at the world as it is. And with that foundation, you have presented me with few lagoons to explore – I know little of Solnit’s work or Arendt’s – and the pile of books by my bed grows faster than I can handle. But best of all is your example of self-reflection and your willingness to share your thoughts of vulnerability. But yours is not a desparate vulnerability. It’s a confidence and a demonstration of trust in yourself, your community, and the world. That helps me in considering the monster koan and helps me with my life. Thank you.

    • Dear Tom,
      Thank you so much for reaching out. I have thought about your words so many times since I received them. And also about your pile of books – as mine is just the same!

      I was especially taken by what became in my mind the phrase “confident vulnerability.” Grounded in community. That felt surprising, but true. So you helped me become aware of the gifts that the Pacific Zen community – and also my life community – has given me. Thank you.

      I remember reading something by Chogyam Trungpa, in which he said that humans are all basically embarrassed by being human. He wanted his teaching to help people see that, find the humor in that, overcome that. That idea of “confident vulnerability” seems to speak to that, too.


  6. Stunned by the clarity and location of your writing on the Ronell case. Really happy find your work – via the New Yorker. It was a very smart call to cite your work.

    Enjoy the well deserved attention.

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