Reviews of “An Imaginary Affair”: Poems Whispered to Neruda by Diana Raab

“Written in response to lines by the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, these poems have a daring directness and vulnerability. These are not poems that hide their emotion behind artifice. They explore the beginnings – and inevitable endings – of attraction with a tender and elemental honesty.”

~ Sue William Silverman, author, If the Girl Never Learns


“An imaginary affair is more than a conversation with Neruda’s poems. In this book, Diana Raab unveils trauma, desire, her life experience (“I am ready to wave goodbye to memories/and bow to gratitude”), and her passionate, non-imaginary affair with poetry. The language is sensual, synesthetic, and at the same time restrained, precise (“flecks of lemon rind float about this whiskey/swirled with honey from the bee that loves/that buzz you give me”). With subtlety and determination An Imaginary Affair invites the reader to enter the intimacy of poetry; its wisdom (“And we move together slowly, one step/at a time toward another dance, another life”).

~ Mariano Zaro, author of Decoding Sparrows


“In this intimate collection of poems, Diana Raab pays tribute to the sensual physicality of Pablo Neruda’s work and to her own real and invented lives. With unvarnished honesty, An Imaginary Affair celebrates a woman’s heart and mind through a handful of odes, epistolary poems, and the idea that memory and anticipation can sustain and nourish us; even drinking a glowing hot toddy is transformed into a meditation on how an ordinary act can awaken desire. Her unvarnished honesty gives equal attention to matters of mortality, where loss is lyrically considered (“…will you run from me / when trains sleep at their stations”), and also explored in the spirit of open curiosity (“How long does it take / for a pine casket to disintegrate / in this caving land…). These poems remind us that to be alive is to try and balance joy and lament, and how through this effort we more deeply inhabit the world and ourselves.”

~ Emma Trelles, author of Tropicalia and Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara


“At last, a woman’s answer to Pablo Neruda, not just an answer to him as a poet, but an answer for him as a lover. Diana Raab evokes all the beauty in An Imaginary Affair that Neruda created. She dances with his poetry, uniting the two like shavings of delicate chocolate melted on the tongue. Her poem, “Please Don’t Forget Me” spoke everything I carry in my heart after losing my husband two years ago and as she says, “orphaned by a love” in “Tonight I can Write.” Soft and tender and true as the fluff on a little bird’s belly, these whispers will stay with you. Please read.”

~ Cheryl Achterberg


“This is an intimate and sensuous book. Diana’s personal sensuality defines the poems in this book, which evokes appreciation for the eroticism in one’s own inner and outer life. As always she shines thru her words.”

~ Tom Wallace

About Diana

“Diana provides professional insight into the world of writing and does so with warmth and compassion. Her supportive nature and encouragement ignited a renewed motivation within me that I began writing my memoir the very next day.”

~ Valerie Zepeda

“Diana Raab is not only a great teacher and supporter of new writers…she makes the whole experience fun.”

~Dr. George Rosch

“Humble, knowledgeable, teaches and speaks from her heart, transfers knowledge in a style and in a way that makes it easy to learn from her. A true gem of a human, funny, fun, and happy.”

~Jack Herschorn, Managing Director The Sacred Space

“Diana is a soul sister, a divine teacher, listener, educator and playmate. I adore this woman!”

~Rose Herschorn

“In July of 2013 I attended Antioch Summer Writing Institute. Diana Raab was the facilitator of my memoir workshop. She was very supportive and positive, and provided very constructive feedback. I was inspired by her approach to coaching. I was also inspired by reading her memoir, Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal. She is a true writing coach.”

~Karine Armen