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C of I English professor releases new poetry book

From the perspective of a female sign twirler, College of Idaho English professor Diane Raptosh celebrates body and beauty, justice and possibility, difference and community in her latest poetry book, Human Directional, which will be released Sept. 19.

Raptosh, Idaho’s most recent Writer-In-Residence (2013-2016) and Boise’s first poet laureate, will read from Human Directional at an upcoming book signing, happening at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at Rediscovered Books in downtown Boise.

“Would that we lived in a world where poetry had the kind of visibility that advertising—and even graffiti—seem to enjoy,” Raptosh said. “My vision for this collection is that at least some of the poems could make it into communities in some of the very forms it borrows from the realm of advertising.”

Pointing and spinning from Fifth and State in an American west city, the sign twirler “hangs deranging rectangles:” prose poems, micro-fictions, flash essays, free verse, and monostiches. Some of the works come to the reader in poems simulating such forms as digital billboards, light boxes, and 3-D broadsides. Using signs “like guitars with a mind / to feed people what they can feel,” the twirler aims to “hook up reason / with passion-acumen.” Along the way, she hopes to team up with the reader in order to “draft a better system in scratchiti / on the sides of buses.”

Human Directional is the second part of a trilogy, following Raptosh’s previous work, American Amnesiac, which was named to the National Book Foundation’s Longlist for poetry in 2013. The third book of the trilogy will be a verse biography of newly conceived states.

Publisher Etruscan Press describes Human Directional as “a remarkably original, unpredictable, devastating epic, revealing the heartbreak and absurdity of our world by exploding its most sacred memes.” And author Nin Andrews (Why God Is A Woman) says Human Directional “is a clear indication of Raptosh’s infinite capacity to surprise…She is at once a poet, a philosopher, and an entertainer. I come away, seeing the world in a new way.”

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.