"The alphabet is, I think, the most beautiful musical instrument in the world. I love the sounds of words, and I like to let myself be carried away by them.” In these modern times, some may perceive poetry to be extinct. For poet and professor Diane Raptosh, that is nonsense. “There is a lot of misunderstanding about what a poet is. The calling of the poet, as the wonderful poet and social critic Phil Rockstroh put it, is to make the invisible visible. Hence, a poet is someone who tends to stand against her time.”
Diane was the first ever Boise Poet Laureate (2013) and the Idaho Writer-in-Residence (2013-2016). Published author of four books of poems and contributor to several anthologies and publications, Diane is driven to be an active ambassador of poetry by conducting workshops and giving readings and lectures. “Because poetry is essentially an oral art, giving a poetry reading is almost like a concert. It's a vocal performance, and I like to sing,” shares Diane. She is currently in her 28th year teaching creative writing and literature at the College of Idaho where she also co-directs the criminal justice program. She is mother to two lovely daughters and one granddaughter.
Though she has lived in several states, much of Diane’s life has been spent in Idaho which is where her initial attraction to poetry began. “I had a great high school English teacher, Dr. Tom Mooney. This, coupled with the fact that my father died suddenly when I was 17, was central to my development as a poet. When my father was killed in a car accident, I was shaken awake. His death, along with a few other events in my early-ish life, shocked me into an alertness about life's brevity, its capricious and eternal sweetness. I wanted to make sure I honored my one precious lifetime. Idaho gives me the physical and mental space I need to feel my way around a lot of different subjects.”
I love thinking about America and its promises--those fulfilled, those broken, and those misconstrued in ways we cannot yet see.”
Some of the themes Diane explores in her most recent award-winning book, American Amnesiac, include reflections on the self and the American dream. “I love thinking about America and its promises--those fulfilled, those broken, and those misconstrued in ways we cannot yet see.”
Truly, here is a contemplative woman abounding in verse and idea, a woman who has contributed much to literacy and poetical awareness in our state and country. "I wanted to try to make sure I could somehow be of service to others. Luckily, verse is serve's anagram.”♦