The first section of Dear Anaïs, titled “Each Winter Sunday,” is dedicated to poems about Raab's childhood. “Jones Beach” is about visiting the beach with her mother and grandmother every Sunday, and there are several poems that talk about how her father taught figure skating at Rockefeller Center and how her mother loved horses.
The next section, “No One Else Was Home,” features poems dedicated to members of her family, including her grandmother, her grandfather, her father, and her aunt. Raab’s deep connection to her grandmother and the loss she felt after her grandmother’s suicide is shown in the poem “To Dettner (My Grandmother).”
But now your body descended to the ambulanceThe third section, “Poetry as Bird,” focuses on writing and how writers find ideas in even the most simple things. One of my favorite poems is “Tides of Wonder” because I love these lines:
and sirens swarmed like vultures
around the place I once called home.
I wonder why you left in such a way,
as the depression gnawed at your gentle heart, which cared for me (page 25)
We sit nestled beside splinteredThe last sections, “Those Fine Strings,” “Surrender,” and “The Real Solace” touch upon such topics as menopause, love, sex, finding pleasure in the mundane, and the weight of things from our past.
driftwood of yesterday,
stretching ten birds wing span
and dream of spreading our own wings, as poets
try to decipher which
word to pluck
from their succulent buckets
to sprinkle into a medley which
one day in their dreams
or in some reality
will blossom into famous verse. (page 43)
I love that Raab’s poetry tells a story and is full of emotion, honesty, and intimacy. Whereas some poets leave me scratching my head wondering what they might mean, the poems in Dear Anaïs easily draw me in and make me think about my own experiences. Raab details her personal journey, but because it is easy to relate to her words and the moods she creates in each poem, it feels as though she’s telling our stories, too. Raab’s letter to Nin at the beginning of Dear Anaïs says, “The poems were all written from my heart and fluctuate from a deep place of pain to a high state of joy.” (pages 7-8) Raab’s words are authentic -- you can tell she’s lived what she’s written -- and I admire her for baring her soul on the page and sharing it with the world.
Dear Anaïs: My Life in Poems for You also was reviewed by:
Savvy Verse & Wit
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Disclosure: I received a free copy of Dear Anaïs: My Life in Poems for You from the author for review purposes.