Literary Nonfiction. Poetry. Lawrence Raab has been revered as a quietly magnificent poet. As friends and students have long known, for decades he's also been a virtuosic teacher. In this first collection of his contemplative essays, Raab ponders works that keep mattering to him as a working writer, with fresh considerations of Edwin Arlington Robinson and Thomas Hardy, Wislawa Szymborska, Ben Jonson, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Lewis Carroll, the artist René Magritte, and Robert Frost. Reading with his touchtone of "truthfulness," a literary maestro meditates on authenticity, ambiguity, and endings, and with In a Different Hour: Collaboration, Revision, and Friendship, he offers a fascinating chronicle of prolonged, generative exchange with poet Stephen Dunn."It's no surprise that one of the best poets of my generation, and one of the wisest, has now presented us with a true gift, his collected essays. In subjects of consideration, they range from Jabberwocky to Frost to Stein to Magritte, but Larry Raab is quick to remind us to beware 'mistaking the subject for the poem itself,' and of course that applies to the essays here, which have, beyond immediate subjects, a singular plainspoken (but richly allusive) contemplative voice and an unerring mission to dig deep into the human condition (a venture that itself implies how a true reading of poems will necessarily expand their reach beyond the limits of a one-subject-per-poem understanding). Despite my first words above, I wish this book's appearance had been a surprise, so I could now declare it a thoroughly delightful one."—Albert Goldbarth
Lawrence Raab is the author of nine books of poems, including Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts (Tupelo, 2015), which was longlisted for the National Book Award, and named one of the Ten Best Poetry Books of 2015 by The New York Times. An earlier collection, What We Don't Know About Each Other (Penguin, 1993) was a winner of the National Poetry Series and a finalist for the National Book Award. His most recent book of poems is THE LIFE BESIDE THIS ONE (Tupelo 2017). He is also the co-author (with Stephen Dunn) of a chapbook of collaborative poems, Winter at the Caspian Sea. In 2016 Tupelo published his collected essays, WHY DON'T WE SAY WHAT WE MEAN? He is the Harry C. Payne Professor of Poetry Emeritus at Williams College, where he taught for forty-two years.