What We Don’t Know About Each Other

In “Since You Asked,” a poem that might serve as a model for Raab’s approach in this highly readable and enticing collection, the poet imagines the perfect dinner party, with endless glasses of wine, numberless chickens, congenial guests, and even dead trees that miraculously spring back to life. Raab is a poet of possibilities, and this collection describes the “other world”–the virtual realities surrounding and defining ordinary life. Into the familiar world of suburban family life intrude the eerie presences of monsters, aliens, ghosts, and dead brothers almost, but not quite, forgotten. As Raab says, “Don’t we look beautiful in the picture/ no one ever took?” Each poem takes the form of an overheard conversation. A lost mother returns, the elm trees of childhood shine in the sun, and the poet shows us how “to uncover some personal design in everything.” Highly recommended.

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Selected by

Stephen Dunn