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BOOKS

During her academic career, Carolyn Raphael wrote two college textbooks, published by Macmillan: Rhetorical Reader for ESL Writers (1983, with Elaine Goran Newman) and The Writing Reader (1986). She edited, with Lawrence J. Raphael and Miriam R. Valdovinos, Language and Cognition, Plenum Press (1984). 

Diagrams of Bittersweet, a chapbook, Somers Rocks Press, 1997

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Travelers on My Route,  
Kelsay Books, 2023

"Unrecorded," the first poem in Carolyn Raphael's rich new collection, begins, "We breathe in smoke when Pepys describes the fire / of London, wince when Plath bites Hughes's cheek / at their intense encounter." Thanks to her curiosity, sensitivity, and technical mastery, we gasp at the cruelty of Roman and Renaissance nobility, groan at the aches of aging, and mourn the loss of departed friends and family members. Wry observations mingle smoothly with tender family moments, as poems in free verse mingle with those in traditional forms—a number of excellent sonnets, a

touching rondeau, and a pair of superb villanelles. The fullness of the living expertly chronicled on every page of Travelers on My Route constantly disproves the conclusion of "Unrecorded," that "there is no room / to chronicle a life consumed with living."

 

     -Michael Palma

grandma poems not to sweet book cover

Grandma Poems - Not Too Sweet,
Kelsay Books/Aldrich Press, 2017

As its title indicates, you won't find any saccharine platitudes about grandmothering in Carolyn Raphael's arresting new collection. She gives us sharp-eyed views of actual grandmas and their grandchildren, and captures perfectly the wistfulness of infrequent visits over a distance of 800 miles. These poems will hold special interest for anyone who has ever had a grandma, or been one, and yet will appeal to all readers who care for skilled poetry, memorable and true to life.

 

     -X. J. Kennedy

Comments on Travelers on My Route by Carolyn Raphael

 

Carolyn Raphael’s newest poetry collection takes readers on such distant journeys in space and time that they’re soon used to running into unusual traveling companions. The Earth Spirit, the Jade Emperor, Nefertiti, Schiller and Goethe, Leonardo da Vinci, the Seven Deadly Sins, the practical jokes of the aristocratic turn up, often surrounded by all things foreign, exotic, especially Italian: the language, history, music, food, and places obviously remembered fondly by the poet.

 

But during the course of these literary travels, a strange thing happens thanks to the poet’s gift for imagery, homely details, and her specialty, the realistic, persuasive dramatic monologue. By the close of the collection, despite the distance covered by the imagination, the reader—at least this reader—finds herself delightfully surrounded by the bride and groom; the child who must be kissed while anointed with chocolate pudding; the elderly friends who bring back childhood, both pleasant and painful; subway beggars who teach the young another aspect of reality; the mother slipping out of our lives despite the care of nurses and daughters; the husband whose absence is a stubborn ache, however brief it may be. These poems seem to say that wherever we go, we end up, after all, surrounded by the familiar, the universal, home.

 

Rhina P. Espaillat 

Bilingual author of numerous poetry collections in English and Spanish

as well as translations, she is the winner of many distinguished prizes. A tireless promoter of poetry, she is still dazzling audiences.

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the most beautiful room in the world book cover

The Most Beautiful Room in the World, David Robert Books, 2010

The technical assurance displayed in every line of Carolyn Raphael's long-awaited first collection yields an unfailing poise and tact that quickly convince us we are in good hands. Time after time her poems lead us to a conclusion that we realize has become ours as well.  Such accomplishments are not incidental.

 

     -Charles Martin

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dancing with bare feet book cover

Dancing with Bare Feet,  
Kelsay Books/White Violet Press, 2016

Carolyn Raphael's formal dexterity dazzles and her aphorisms sizzle in Dancing with Bare Feet. Jaunty meters anchor the poet's sometimes witty, sometimes tender arguments. She mocks, parodies, and tugs the truths from art, music, parent-and-grown-child dilemmas, aging, and more. Whether she stops the family car by the woods to tease Robert Frost or one-ups Browning with "The Next Duchess," Carolyn Raphael aims to wrm-wrestle the canon—and wins. Bravo for Dancing with Bare Feet.

 

     -Molly Peacock

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