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