“The self is a thousand localities”

Poet Diane Raptosh
Poet Diane Raptosh

I’m delighted to welcome Diane Raptosh, a poet who is currently serving as Idaho’s Writer-in-Residence, to Seattle.

We’ll read together at Elliott Bay Books on Sat., March 14 at 7p.

Raptosh is a prison studies scholar and a cultural critic. Check out her TEDxBoise talk: Poetry, Democracy and the Hope of Sounds.

To whet your appetite, here’s an untitled poem from her most recent collection, 
American Amnesiac
, which was long listed for the National Book Award:

The self is a thousand localities

like a small nation—assembly required: borders and roads,


armies, farms, small and large pieces of parchment. I stand by

all the territories I have ever been, even as I can’t


remember them. I am a locum—ear to the emperor penguin, a banner ad

blinking to the hoi polloi. Since I’ve become John Doe, I swear


I can feel most objects with sixty digits

instead of five. This makes me think


of Lisette. Makes me miss her left collar bone. Her hips’ wingtips.

A train moans from a far hummock.


Which reminds me that everyone I’ll have to live without

I must help to find a place within. Which is an act


of granite will. A strain. A ditty.

An exercise in utmost beautility.


from American Amnesiac, by Diane Raptosh

                             (Etruscan Press, 2013)


One thought on ““The self is a thousand localities”

  1. marjorierommel

    Welcome to Washington, Diane! It’s your great good fortune to know our Elizabeth Austen. We look forward to meeting you.
    — The Northwest Renaissance, Poets, Performers & Publishers
    (a Washington nonprofit corporation since 1975)

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