American Amnesiac by Diane Raptosh

SKU 978-0-9839346-6-0


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

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


2013 – National Book Award Longlist, Poetry

2014 Finalist – Housatonic Book Award for Poetry

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About The Author

Diane Raptosh’s fourth book of poetry, American Amnesiac, (Etruscan Press, 2013) was longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award and was a finalist for the Housatonic Book AwardThe recipient of three fellowships in literature from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, she served as the Boise Poet Laureate (2013) as well as the Idaho Writer-in-Residence (2013-2016), the highest literary honor in the state. In 2018 she received the Idaho Governor’s Arts Award in Excellence. A highly active ambassador for poetry, she has given poetry workshops everywhere from riverbanks to maximum security prisons. She teaches creative writing and runs the program in Criminal Justice/Prison Studies at The College of Idaho. Her most recent collection of poems, Human Directional, was released by Etruscan Press in 2016.

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