The History of Forgetting

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-05-26
  • Publisher: Penguin Group USA
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Raab's seventh outing pursues the same theme throughout, in tones as subdued as the subject is harrowing: the poems concern the end of everythinghuman life, humanity as a species, all that we can be or know or do. A child dies, love fades, then friendship,/ and soon enough almost everything is gone, says Nothing There; The God of Snow concludes, regretfully, that it had all started out so well. Environmental destruction plays a role, too, in these pessimistic tableaux, which at their best recall Thomas Hardy: like Hardy's, though, Raab's sadness is finally personal and has something to do with advancing age. The sea encourages me/ to think about the past, he writes, as if I could leave it where it is. His free verse and restrained diction complement his conversational phrasing. There are glimmers of humor as well: The life of the Japanese beetle/ is pointless and ugly. Raab was a poet to watch in the 1970s, when his early, mildly surrealist collections drew extravagant praise: he has since settled down into quieter modes, the poems' lack of sparkle offsetand then someby the quality of pathos within their lines. (June) Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Author Biography

Lawrence Raab is the author of six previous collections of poems, including What We Don-'t Know About Each Other, a winner of the National Poetry Series and a finalist for the National Book Award. He teaches literature and writing at Williams College.

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