A Raft of Grief
Chelsea Rathburn

$17.95

Winner of the 2012
Autumn House Poetry Prize,
selected by Stephan Dunn
ISBN 978-1-932870-79-4

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In her excellent A Raft of Grief, Chelsea Rathburn probes the varieties and nuances of love and relationships with unsparing lucidity. “Maybe it’s not the eye/but the mind that can take only so much beauty, or solitude, or pleasure,/ maybe we travel both to find and forget ourselves,” she says in this book set in places as varied as Paris, Florida, Krakow. I love how she’s able to affirm what can happen between two people, while asking if a story-teller sometimes has to “sacrifice lovers and selves to the narrative arc?” She’s willing to, which is one reason why her narratives are so persuasive – her allegiance throughout is to the poem as a whole. She will not let her fine moments overwhelm, as lesser poets often do; her limpid, yet complicated phrasing is always part of the poem’s fabric.

Stephen Dunn