- Paperback: 80 pages
- Publisher: White Violet Press (December 17, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0692568034
- ISBN-13: 978-0692568033
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,095,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dancing with Bare Feet Paperback – December 17, 2015
About the Author
Carolyn Raphael retired from the English Department at Queensborough Community College, CUNY, after more than thirty years of teaching. Her poems have appeared in journals including The Lyric, Orbis, Measure, and Long Island Quarterly and on the Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies website for the American Arts Quarterly, where her poem, “Honorable Mention,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her chapbook, Diagrams of Bittersweet, was published by Somers Rocks Press in 1997, and her poetry collection, The Most Beautiful Room in the World, was published by David Robert Books in 2010.
Carolyn Raphael is the poetry coordinator of Great Neck Plaza in Great Neck, New York, where she ran a poetry reading series. Guests included such luminaries as X. J. Kennedy, Tom Disch, and Rhina Espaillat. Now she is working on a project called “Poetry in the Plaza,” which places poems on local bulletin boards, much as “Poetry in Motion” places poems on the subway. She also coordinates the annual Great Neck Plaza Poetry Contest.
Top customer reviews
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Carolyn Raphael's exquisite artistry as a formal poet is revealed in these vital, "dancing" poems. The refined energy of her sonnets is a delight, and she can write a villanelle, a difficult and demanding form, that is natural and unforced ("Hail and Farewell"). When she speaks with tenderness about her daughter ("A Word, Please") and imagines a final bequest of love to her husband ("After Me"), we glimpse a woman who is experiencing a happy life. I treasure this readable and enjoyable book by a poet who animates traditions, both literary and social, with her wit and warmth.
In her poem, "Very Personal Trainer", she looks into a gym and sees,
"A radiance of golden skin and hair,
her body firm beneath blue Lycra,
she kneels beside him
One hand resting on his thigh...
He strains, then smiles
as she whispers praise"
In another poem she speaks for mothers, in an era of women's liberation.
"If you must sleep with my daughter
Love her eyes
they're for more than flirting
They witness women bruised by fists...
"Love her lips
They know more than kissing
they whisper solace to a child..."
When Carolyn sees her first grandson, she sings,
"Now that you're here I feel like singing again,
And dancing with bare feet,
holding my ears
against the trumpet music of your cry."
Raphael can be politically-poetic as well, as when she rhymes the strange case of the Jewish Cardinal from France.
"When Aaron was ordained as priestly father,
His father witnessed from the pew.
His mother's spirit called to him from Auschwitz...
"This Cardinal called himself a Christian Jew,
as did the twelve disciples.
Carolyn Raphael is also very much aware of the new media, and how they have altered our most personal interactions. She writes a poem "To the Person who Broke Up with His Girlfriend on Facebook"
"may your profile photo morph into a beast,
And your private information be released
May you find a thousand hate notes on your wall,
(with each new one fiercest of them all)
Your conversations be abruptly ended
And you yourself increasingly unfriended."
And this poet is not afraid to write about cancer and the fear of aging,
"The chemotherapy brigade is growing.
The valiant company that is always growing
Marchers into forests of not knowing."
Finally, how many of us, in this modern high pressure world, are too busy rushing by to stop, and listen to the beauty around us.
"...one man, stopped by the brilliant playing,
Stands rooted to the sacred ground.
But most refuse to slow their pace,
Too crushed by time, too rushed for beauty,
They're caught inside the wheel of duty,
Advancing as they run in place."
So much of modern poetry is inaccessible--more like math proofs than art. Carolyn Raphael's poems prove that modern poetry can connect with our everyday lives, by bringing us beautiful images that we intuitively understand.
Dancing With Bare Feet gets five stars from this reviewer--read it again and again.
Dr. Ronald M. Glassman
Faculty of Liberal Studies
New York University