The self is a thousand localities like a small nation—assembly required: borders and roads,armies, farms, small and large pieces of parchment. I stand by all the territories I have ever been, even as I can’t remember them. I am a locum—ear to the emperor penguin, a banner ad blinking to the hoi polloi. Since I’ve become John Doe, I swear I can feel most objects with sixty digits instead of five. This makes me think of Lisette. Makes me miss her left collar bone. Her hips’ wingtips. A train moans from a far hummock. Which reminds me that everyone I’ll have to live without I must help to find a place within. Which is an act of granite will. A strain. A ditty. An exercise in utmost beautility. From American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press 2013) by Diane Raptosh
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Following the manic journey of a man stripped of memory, American Amnesiac confronts the complexities of being American in an age of corruption, corporations, and global conflict. "Straddling confession and prophesy, history and myth, intimacy and anonymity, American Amnesiac offers a riveting meditation on a distinctly American condition. We are lost and at home in its world, a world in which past and present collide and identities fold and collapse. Following the hypnotic voice of the amnesiac speaker, the stranded reader stumbles along in a landscape marked by its own odd, jarring, incoherent signposts — shreds of a past as recognizable as it is impenetrable (the relentless refrain is, after all, “My name is John Doe”) and scraps of a world reduced to a collection of headlines, names, titles, symbols, letters — familiar and cryptic at once. With her consummate craft, Diane Raptosh has given us a collection of stunning, timely, and unforgettable poems." —Edvige Giunta, author of Writing with an Accent: Contemporary Italian American Women Authors
Following her big hit, American Amnesiac, Raptosh's Human Directional zigzags across consciousness, searing through old patterns of thought and offering new directions for the mind, heart, and world. Raptosh points the way to what Montaigne called “unlearning how to be a slave.” With the deadly precision of the fey, Human Directional reveals the heartbreak and absurdity of our world by exploring— and often exploding—its most sacred memes.
Dear Z collects verse-letters to a newly fertilized zygote— not quite a person, nor even an embryo, but rather, the great human maybe. Th e speaker delivers to the “Z” a taste of what this might mean in poems whose topical range traipses from AutoFill to Idaho, New Zealand rivers to the zombie apocalypse.
Trio: three books of poetry—Planet Parable, by Karen Donovan; Run, by Diane Raptosh; Endless Body by Daneen Wardrop—bound together in one accommodating volume; three distinct and fully realized, absorbing universes that stand on their own but, here, not apart. Inevitably, serendipitously, the intelligences, preoccupations, prosodic signatures begin to reverberate and ricochet, not just for readers but for the poets themselves, who together, in an afterward, comment on the project and create an intriguing cento of combined lines. Individually, Karen Donovan’s poems unspool lyric macrocosms and microcosms with equal and precise astonishment; Diane Raptosh’s poems unveil and reclaim with intimacy the spiritual, sexual and political history of Victoria Woodhull, an American feminist purged from the annals; and the poems of Daneen Wardrop, with close and darting attention, create an intricate, syncopated network. Each of these three poets, with daring and mastery, compels on her own; together in Trio, their synergy is riveting. — Carol Moldaw, Beauty Refracted