Below you’ll find a review, book information, and a contest. So read on and be sure to enter.
As a former English teacher–and let’s face it–English nerd, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review poetry. Poetry! The bane of students and love of teachers. Even better, said poetry chapbook is an homage to one of my favorite poets, Pablo Neruda, though I will admit a tiny bit of trepidation that it could not live up to its inspiration.
But An Imaginary Affair by Diane Raab did not disappoint.
The form of the poems varied and matched the emotional frame, which I appreciated. 30 sonnets would not have been as exciting to read. (No aspersions cast in the direction of Shakespeare or Petrarch or Milton…it’s just that sonnets can get monotonous.) Speaking of those literary giants, Saab’s poems do emulate the story arc presented in their works: first meeting, encounters, love, and finally dissolution of the relationship.
Language is the paint of the poet. Her language is approachable but not simplistic, which is both a plus and a minus. I am a fan of complex rhyme schemes and sound devices like anaphora and consonance, and though these do appear from time to time, they lack a richness that I like–and note that I said “I like.” Poetry is highly personal. What I find prosaic you may adore. That’s the beauty of prosody.
My favorite of the lot is “Ode to Hot Toddy on Sick day.” Her language wraps around the reader like a warm blanket. I also really enjoyed “Kisses and Rhetoric” and “The Unfolding.” But you should read this little book and choose your own.
Here’s more information.
The poems touch on key human elements, such as love, desire, passion, memory, loss, and gratitude. The poet celebrates the joys, and pains inherent to a woman’s heart, while honoring the wisdoms and tones of Neruda’s poetry. Some of the epistolary poems are directed to Neruda in response to his riveting poems.
“In this intimate collection of poems, Diana Raab pays tribute to the sensual physicality of Pablo Neruda’s work and to her own real and invented lives. With unvarnished honesty, An Imaginary Affair celebrates a woman’s heart and mind through a handful of odes, epistolary poems, and the idea that memory and anticipation can sustain and nourish us; even drinking a glowing hot toddy is transformed into a meditation on how an ordinary act can awaken desire. Her unvarnished honesty gives equal attention to matters of mortality, where loss is lyrically considered (“…will you run from me / when trains sleep at their stations”), and also explored in the spirit of open curiosity (“How long does it take / for a pine casket to disintegrate / in this caving land…). These poems remind us that to be alive is to try and balance joy and lament, and how through this effort we more deeply inhabit the world and ourselves.”
–Emma Trelles, author of Tropicalia and Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara
Excerpt: (You’ll love this.)
Please Don’t Forget Me
I want you to know one thing:
if there is ever a day
when you begin to think
about my place in this world and if I could live without you—
stop in your tracks,
and look the imprints
your feet made in the sand where you and I walked together arm in arm, side by side shoulder touching shoulder.
You are ingrained in my brain like every kernel of sand
that lies beside the largest ocean in this world where we inhabit two sides familiar, yet foreign
to one another. But, in the end,
I had to let you go: when you love someone it’s what one must do — set them free to do what they need or want, and when they want
to do it, whether it is with you or not— while always keeping in mind
I will never in my lifetime or yours stop loving everything about you.
Author Bio and Links.
Diana Raab is an award-winning, memoirist, poet, blogger, inspirational speaker, and workshop facilitator. As the author of nine books of nonfiction and poetry, Raab teaches workshops on writing for healing and transformation, inspiring others to use creativity for healing and self-discoveries. Her 2 latest books are WRITING FOR BLISS: A SEVEN-STEP PLAN FOR TELLING YOUR STORY AND TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE and WRITING FOR BLISS: A COMPANION JOURNAL, available on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Publisher’s Weekly says this about WRITING FOR BLISS: “This thoughtful and detailed primer…targets pretty much anyone interested in writing a memoir.”
Raab has written over 1000 articles and poems including her contributions to Psychology Today, Thrive Global, Wisdom Daily and many others. She has taught at UCLA Extension, the Santa Barbara’s Writer’s Conference, 1440 Multiversity, Hugo House and others.
Her forthcoming chapbook, An Imaginary Affair: Poems Whispered to Neruda is written in response to his work.
And finally… The Contest
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Diana Raab will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.