Depending on the reader, the title of Lawrence Raab’s tenth poetry collection, April at the Ruins, might evoke “the cruelest month” of Eliot’s The Waste Land or a postcard from a Henry James character on The Grand Tour. There are glimmers of each here — mixtures of memory and desire as well as travels both real and metaphorical. But more often we find Raab meditating on love and loss (and much besides) with his characteristic sense of gratitude, entire lives suggested by a precise detail or turn of phrase:
… and as they crossed the street she took his hand, just as if everything they hadn’t told each other had never happened. (“One of the Ways We Talk to Each Other”)
In “Little Ritual,” stones collected and then forgotten beside a lake become metaphysical emblems, the “zigzags of blue” in a “shiver of quartz” reminding the speaker “that some day everything / I love must be set aside, / or given away, or lost.” Amid the ruin we’ve made or witnessed of this world, Raab nonetheless celebrates an April of the spirit. “Nothing is beyond repair,” he writes. “How can there be a beautiful ending / without many beautiful mistakes?”
Reviewre bio: James Scruton is the author of two full collections and five chapbooks of poetry, most recently The Rules (Green Linden Press, 2019). He has received the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry magazine, among other honors.
Jeffrey Levine and Kristina Marie Darling invite you to join Tupelo Press’ expertly-designed online poetry manuscript conference. We will meet in small, intimate groups. You will be guided through the craft of transforming your manuscript into a book that coheres and sings! At the end, you’ll have a readied manuscript, a publication plan, and a community of fellow poets. Rolling registration.
All authors want to get their books into the hands of as many readers as possible. Though it is a publisher’s role to aid and assist authors in marketing and publicity for every book, the role of any publisher necessarily takes a back seat to your all-important efforts. Nobody else can do this essential work as effectively as you can.
Tupelo Press has announced they are moving their Tupelo Broadside Contest submission period to the month of September. This is so they can accept folios for Four Quartets: Poetry in the Pandemic to be published in late fall. They seek four 12-page folios of poetry. Submissions are open now through midnight on June 30. Judges for selection will be Publisher Jeffrey Levine, Editor In Chief Kristina Marie Darling, and Poetry Editor Cassandra Cleghorn. Selected writers will receive a $250 honorarium.
Tupelo Press presents two recent releases, Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved by Adeeba Shahid Talukder, and our latest printing of Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones” onto broadsides. Also be sure to check out the Tupelo Press BOGO sale going on at tupelopress.org. View the entire April eLitPak Newsletter here.