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Book Launch: RANSOMED VOICES by Elizabeth Raby

ISBN:[masked]  ■  Soft cover 240 pp $19.95  ■  Publication: September 15, 2013

Direct from Red Mountain Press:  [masked]   [masked]

Book Launch!  Sunday, September 22, 5 PM Teatro Paraguas, 3205 Calle Marie, Santa Fe 



RANSOMED VOICES by Elizabeth Raby, captures episodes in the lives of multiple generations of an American family told in prose and poetry in the voices of those who experienced them. This is the narrative passed from generation to generation in conversation, written reminiscences, newspaper accounts, and letters, until it became the personal memory of a girl who loved stories. As she grew into adolescence and young adulthood, all the stories merged into one — her own.

The voices speak from their particular time and place, from Quaker meetings in pre-Civil War Ohio, from sod houses in Nebraska, from the 1890 battle at Wounded Knee, from Osceola, Nebraska during the Depression, from a train traveling across the United States during World War II, to a house on Cliff Street in Burlington, Vermont, from Luxembourg and Vassar College, from High Point, North Carolina during the Civil Rights upheavals of the early 1960s, from New York City and Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

Restless, always on the move, hoping the answers could be found in the next place where life would be better, richer, finer, some discovered that place, some did not. 

The title is drawn from two lines of a poem by Emily Dickinson — “Silence is all we dread/There's Ransom in a Voice.” This book is an attempt to save these voices and the lives they conjure up before they are forever lost to silence.


Elizabeth Raby is the author of three full-length poetry collections: This Woman, Ink on Snow, and The Year the Pears Bloomed Twice, as well as four chapbooks. Her poems have been translated into Romanian and she is co-author of a Romanian/ English chapbook. Winner of the 2010 Elmer Kelton Award for poetry, Angelo State University, she has been nominated several times for the Pushcart. Raby is a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. A graduate of Vassar College (B.A. History) and Temple University                  (M.A. English/Creative Writing), she has lived in Santa Fe, NM since 2000.

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  • omar s.

    The voices are rescued more than ransomed. Spaces among the choir paid for in sacrifice and accomplishment. A nation, a family and a voice coming of age while mired in the practicalities of enlightenment. While researching, my mom, Elizabeth Raby, went to front porches and small places around the country to sit and listen to the tales behind her parents’ and grandparents’ edits. Discord and delight. Indians, locust, man’s inhumanity. I bet she hummed as she poured over the records and letters. She unveils verse in bits and pieces. Allowing us to see she is quietly pleased at the responses over supper, at her poetry readings. All those drafts were scales, movements, practiced and perfected for a symphony of Ransomed Voices she was settting free.

    I may listen a bit closer to the humming from now on. No doubt new stories buzzing to be set free. Why do parents wait 'til we are so old, to get really interesting? I’m so proud to say I’m sure the next book will also sing itself.

    November 9, 2013

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