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Dear Anais
My Life in Poems for You

by Diana M. Raab
Preface by Tristine Rainer

      Diana M. Raab is a casual poet. "Accessible" is the word so often used for work like hers. Eloquence is often very simple and this small book of poetry will speak to women as surely as Anais Nin spoke to her.

The entire book is, as the title suggests, inspired by Nin. Raab's work will continue that lovely, rainbow-shaped arc to go on and inspire other poets. In fact, a section of her book, "Poetry as Bird" is fairly dedicated to her fellows.

The ones that touched me most were the ones inspired by her grandmother and aunt. "To Dettner," Raab's grandmother, reminded me of the debt I owe my grandmother who, even in her bitter years, ended up inspiring much of my novel, This Is the Place. Much as my Aunt Haze inspired my short stories and many of my poems, so too did Raab's Aunt Lilly in "My Navigator."

One of my favorite poems is a raucous one called "Hot Flashed Mama." It brought back so many memories of being the harried parent of young children.

But my favorite is "I Must Have Been Chinese in a Past Life." It is both the love of tolerance and the sheer lack of it in human cultures everywhere that inspire my writing most. Raab coalesces her instincts that we are all alike at our cores with simple but artful images like the figure 8.

Raab's poetry isn't so much lyrical as it is confident. Poets and writers—especially women—will find  this book re-readable.

The Book

Plain View Press
August 2008
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The Reviewer

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Reviewed 2008
NOTE: Reviewer Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the award-winning author of This is the Place, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, and a chapbook of poetry titled Tracings, winner of the Military Writers Society of America's Award of Excellence and named Top Ten Best Reads by the Compulsive Reader. She is also the author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books including The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success and The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't, the 2004 winner of USA Book News' Best Professional Book of the Year and Irwin awards.
© 2008