Leave It Behind by Emily Raabe

Leave It Behind


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Finalist for the

“LEAVE IT BEHIND expresses the paradoxical wish of every poet, seeking to leave behind—in both senses of that phrase—the language trace of her mind and heart. And what a fine first book Emily Raabe has left behind: vivid and strange, haunted by dreamed animals, alive with the landscapes and losses of her Vermont childhood. Raabe’s poetry seeks ‘something like love/ in that it is the absence/ of distance”—and yet it faces both absence and distance with unflinching imagination, intelligence, and grace.’

—Dan Chiasson, author of WHERE’S THE MOON, THERE’S THE MOON

“The poems in Emily Raabe’s first collection, LEAVE IT BEHIND, are distinct and imaginative. Often with a surreal edge, they have the intensity and grip of dream imagery and dream narrative: ‘My best dream/ goes like this: two fields/ cut by a thin line of trees./ In the dream I’m at the line/ when the storm comes in.’ And so the reader is immediately drawn into the poem with a sense of suspense in which the familiar has a strange and ominous aura. Raabe is able to find her identity in correlations between herself and the outer world as in ‘Self-Portrait of a House’: ‘If I were a house, I’d be a little/ green house, with peeling paint/ and an Ali Baba stairway/ to my swinging green screen door,’ and so she invites her reader into a world of innuendo. Her poems possess an engaging freshness, and her debut as a new poet is to be welcomed.”

—Robert Pack, author of LAUGHTER BEFORE SLEEP

“A lush and swiftly moving fantasy… Raabe’s (Leave It Behind) poetic sensibility is visible in her vibrant descriptions of the ocean, the shape-shifters’ heightened senses, and her vision of a liminal world hidden from human perception.”

Publishers Weekly

Other Press

“Something Like Love”Holderness School Today


“The Hinge,” FutureCycle Poetry, 2011

“An old story,” Indiana Review, Fall 2008

“My best dream,” Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Spring 2006

“Darwin in the Andes,” The Alaska Quarterly Review, Fall 2005

“Rain is Black and White, Like a Photograph,” The Antioch Review, Fall 2004