Monday, July 9, 2012

A Review of Listening To Africa


by Diana M. Raab

Publisher: Antrim House

Release: April 18, 2012
Paperback, 70 pgs.

ISBN: 9781936482184

Book Summary
Poet Diana M. Raab travels to the heart of Africa with her family to experience the beauty and fascination of another world. During her safari, she observes the distress, the delight, and the dignity of the humans and animals who live there and parallels them with her own quest for health.

Here is one of the poems you will find in Listening To Africa:

Mischievous Monkeys

This morning as I sat reading my book
inside the empty breakfast tent,
my eyes caught some stirrings
on a buffet of exotic cheeses.

A family of funny monkeys
from a neighboring tree were tempted
by this edible fermentation, as they
sprang themselves onto
the decorated elongated table. 

I stood up and tip-toed in their direction.
After another monkey spotted me
and stared deep into my green eyes,
warning me to leave, he tossed 

himself onto a nearby branch,
cheese dangling from his primate mouth.
The hostess announced her presence
and clapped them away while another rascal
dropped slippery green grapes to the ground

and scurried up yet another tree.
He glanced back at me like a naughty child
who understands a forehead
written with punishment, 

like the one given to my children
during their own mischievous moments.

Here in this African jungle,
I do not want to be a parent—
all I want to do is chuckle
and slowly sip my coffee
and skip along with my day.

To read other sample poems from Listening To Africa, click on the following link:


Other Reviews
“Diana M. Raab makes a pilgrimage from the 'familiar neon of home’ in America to Africa, bringing her family, her passion and her pen. Her moving words carry us with her in narrative poems re-plete with vision, humor and irony. In her inner and outer journey, the poet transforms fear and sadness into beauty and love as her heart opens 'in this place which will remind you of your reason for living.’”
- Susan Wooldridge
author of poemcrazy: freeing your life with words

“Diana M. Raab takes us on a joyous poetic journey of words and photos. She juxtaposes her wisdom, essential wellness and depth of feeling in exploring four-legged friends, illness, and hope, making this an extremely powerful collection."
- Cara Nusinov
author of Unrequited Loves and Other French Kisses

My Review
Listening To Africa is an interesting collection of poems about the experiences of Diana M. Raab and her family's time in Africa.  The poems are divided into four sections, which are titled: Early Thoughts, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.  Through poetry, Diana M. Raab has shared her experiences and observations of Africa, it's people and their cultures, and the animals living out in the African Plains.  Raab, through her poetry, also shares her observations of life in America to that of life in Africa. 

Although I have never physically been there, I was able to experience a bit of Africa through Raab's words.  After reading Listening To Africa, I don't think I'll ever look at life the same way again.  I know that I am truly blessed to have all that I have.  

I would recommend this book of poems for anyone who enjoys reading poetry or wishes they could visit Africa.  

Diana M. Raab is a memoirist, essayist and poet. She has a B.S. in Health Administration and Journalism, and an RN degree from Vanier College in Montreal, in addition to an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Spalding University’s Low-Residency Program.

Diana has been writing from an early age. As a child of two working parents, she spent a lot of time crafting letters and keeping a daily journal. A journaling advocate and educator, Diana teaches creative journaling and memoir in workshops around the country. She frequently speaks and writes about the healing powers of writing.

She’s the award-winning author of eight books, and the author of over 500 articles and poems. Her release is
Writers on the Edge: 22 Writers Speak About Addiction and Depression, co-edited with James Brown, which is a compilation of essays by renowned writers discussing how addiction has influenced their literary lives. She is also editor of Writers and Their Notebooks, a collection of essays written by well-known writers who keep journals.

Raab is the author of two memoirs,
Regina's Closet: Finding My Grandmother's Secret Journal, winner of the 2008 National Indie Excellence Award for Memoir and Healing With Words, the 2011 Mom's Choice Award Winner for Adult Nonfiction.

She is also a registered nurse who teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and at various writing workshops across the country. She is the author of four poetry collections,
My Muse Undresses Me (2007); Dear Anais: My Life in Poems for You (2008), winner of The Reader Views Award and an Allbooks Review Editor's Choice Award; The Guilt Gene (2009); and Listening to Africa (2012).

Her poetry and prose have appeared in national journals and anthologies such as
Rattle, Rosebud, Litchfield Review, Tonopah Review, Writers' Journal, A Cafe in Space, the Toronto Quarterly, Common Ground Review, The Smoking Poet, Snail Mail Review, New Mirage Journal, Lucidity, Blood and Thunder, Jet Fuel Review, Ascent, and The Huffington Post.


Johanna Garth said...

That actually sounds like the perfect thing to read out loud with my kids on a summer afternoon.

Tribute Books said...

Susanne, thanks for the review of Diana's book!

Kimberly said...

What a great poem and how cool to see monkey's in action in Africa!

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Johanna! I think reading the poems out loud with your kids would be great.

Hi, Nicole! I was glad I got a chance to read LISTENING TO AFRICA.

Hi, Kimberly! Mischievous Monkeys is a great poem. Did you get a chance to check out the other sample poems?

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

The poem creates such a vivid picture. I'm in awe of such a talent.

Jennifer Shirk said...

My brother in law and his family went to Africa on Safari and loved the experience.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I like the way she words things, such as "edible fermentation," and the delight I get through her words. Thanks for passing this along!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I LOVE the line about the edible fermentation. :)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

What vivid imagery in that poem. Just delightful. I'd imagine it's a perfect book for a family.

Lindi said...

Loved the poem--especially the end.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I also enjoyed Diana's animated poem! Julie

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Very nice review, Susanne. The cover is great. Sounds like a lovely book about Africa.

I left you a surprise on my blog:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...