Poet and professor Lawrence Raab was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1946. He earned a BA from Middlebury College and an MA from Syracuse University and has taught at various institutions including American University, the University of Michigan, and Williams College, where is the Morris Professor of Rhetoric.

Raab is the author of more than half a dozen collections of poetry, including What We Don’t Know About Each Other (1993), selected for the National Poetry Series by Stephen Dunn and a finalist for the National Book Award; Visible Signs: New and Selected Poems (2003); The History of Forgetting (2009); and Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts (2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He collaborated with Stephen Dunn on a chapbook of poems, Winter at the Caspian Sea (1999).

Conversational yet precise, Raab’s lyrical meditations trace human fallibility and doubt. As Boston Review critic Don Colburn noted in a review of What We Don’t Know About Each Other, “Lawrence Raab’s gracefully haunting poems explore the fine lines of our temporal lives‚ between distance and intimacy, limits and possibility, present and past …In Raab’s poems, reason and faith are not as far apart as they sometimes seem.”

In addition to his poetry, Raab has written the screenplays The Distances (1967) and Or I’ll Come to You (1968). The Birds, his adaptation of a play by Aristophanes, was first produced at the Power Center in Ann Arbor in 1975. Raab has been an editor for Frontiers and a member of the editorial board of Alkahest.

Raab’s honors include the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine, the Academy of American Poets’ Prize, and the Charity Randall Citation from the International Poetry Forum. He has also received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the University of Michigan Society of Fellows, the Peter S. Reed Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Raab’s poetry has been featured in The Norton Anthology of Poetry (1983), A Book of Luminous Things (1996, ed. Czeslaw Milosz), and several volumes of Best American Poetry.


  • Mysteries of the Horizon, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1972.
  • The Collector of Cold Weather, Ecco Press (New York, NY), 1976.
  • Other Children, Carnegie-Mellon University Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1986.
  • What We Don’t Know about Each Other, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1993.
  • (With Stephen Dunn) Winter at the Caspian Sea, Palanquin Press (Aiken, SC), 1999.
  • The Probable World, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2000.
  • Visible Signs: New and Selected Poems, Penguin Poets (New York, NY), 2003.
  • The History of Forgetting, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2009.
  • Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts, Tupelo Press (Lexington, KY), 2015.

Work represented in anthologies, including The Norton Anthology of Poetry, third edition, Norton, 1983; The Best American Poetry 1992, edited by Charles Simic, Collier, 1992; The Best American Poetry 1993, edited by Louise Gluck, Scribner/Collier, 1993; A Book of Luminous Things, edited by Czeslaw Milosz, Harcourt, 1996; and The Best American Poetry 2000, edited by Rita Dove, Collier, 2000. Author of film scripts The Distances, 1967, and Or I’ll Come to You, 1968. Also author of The Birds (adaptation of a play by Aristophanes), first produced in Ann Arbor, MI, at Power Center, April, 1975. Also author ofDracula (libretto for an opera adapted from the novel by Bram Stoker), as yet unpublished and unproduced. Contributor of poems, essays, reviews, and translations from the French, to literary journals, including Poetry, Paris Review, Kayak, Shenandoah, and Prairie Schooner, and to popular magazines, including New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and American Scholar. Editor of Frontiers, 1967 and 1968; member of editorial board of Alkahest, 1968.



Further Readings


  • Booklist, March 15, 2000, Donna Seaman, review of The Probable World, p. 1319.
  • New York Times Book Review, July 23, 2000, Matthew Flamm, review of The Probable World, p. 16.
  • Poetry, February, 1994, Thomas M. Disch, review of What We Don't Know about Each Other, p. 285.
  • Publishers Weekly, June 14, 1993, review of What We Don't Know about Each Other, p. 66; April 17, 2000, review of The Probable World, p. 72.
  • Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2000, David Lehman, review of The Probable World.