A Raft of Grief

Winner of the 2012 Poetry Prize, selected by Stephen Dunn

US List Price: $17.95

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A Raft of Grief

Winner of the 2012 Poetry Prize, selected by Stephen Dunn

US List Price: $17.95

Buy Now

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

While I may have opened the book and this review with an eye for the technical, I left with a strong sense of the human business that makes good poetry, the kind we can feel in our bodies…. There’s a critical compassion as well that acknowledges ‘the fatal inattentions/ anxieties and tics…our good and bad intentions,’ and despite what we lack, gives us a reason to stay afloat. “While I may have opened the book and this review with an eye for the technical, I left with a strong sense of the human business that makes good poetry, the kind we can feel in our bodies…. There’s a critical compassion as well that acknowledges ‘the fatal inattentions/ anxieties and tics…our good and bad intentions,’ and despite what we lack, gives us a reason to stay afloat.
—SHAWN DELGADO, StorySouth

Great hungers, little deaths, lost causes, a whole shifting cargo of ‘rages, lapses, and aches’ – for all the burdens in tow here, Rathburn’s resilient craft is a model of buoyant aplomb. A Raft of Grief is a superbly accomplished book from a poet who has truly arrived.
—DAVID BARBER

Chelsea Rathburn is the author of one previous collection, The Shifting Line, which won the 2005 Richard Wilbur Award. Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, New England Review, Five Points, and many other journals, and her honors include a fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. Originally from Miami, she attended Florida State University and […]

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