For Lack of Diamond Years
DescriptionFOR LACK of DIAMOND YEARS is an idiosyncratic collection of short poems - most under 20 lines - where questions lead the way. The poems are a mixed set of free verse, unabashed counting forms like the Hay(na)ku and the Elfchen, and a very minimalist version of John Cage's mesostic form, along with a small number of poems based on colors, and a few that steal freely from traditional American songs. But at its heart, For Lack of Diamond Years is a quixotic narration between realms of being - from the quotidian into the sometimes numinous, sometimes murky realm of the unknown/unknown, and on into a kind of revamped transcendental. There is a thread of praise that runs throughout - an embrace of the joys and sorrows of thinking and feeling, of love and loss.
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About the Author
These poems are extraordinary. Caroline Beasley-Baker's voice is unique, and strong, and like no other poet I know. She is the real deal, as they say - everything works, even the ravishingly brilliant ways that the poems appear on the page. For some reason, I keep thinking of Leonard Cohen's lines, 'There a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in.'
. . . vibrant, cut-shining poems . . .
. . . In Caroline Beasley-Baker's FOR LACK of DIAMOND YEARS, the spirit of Gerard Manley Hopkins presides over a series of short poems and mesostics that are both luminous and fiercely original.
I love these poems . . . stream-of-consciousness visionary poems, not only in the tradition of Hopkins, but also John Berryman. I love the imagery, the metaphorical leaps, the range and tensions of perspective, often within the same line or two, and the way love/passion, or the need for this is always somehow present, even, like an underground river, when it isn't seen.
Caroline Beasley-Baker is her voice, working the faults and facets like a jeweler, but with language. She makes parallels collide, no easy trick that.
FOR LACK of DIAMOND YEARS is pitch perfect, deeply felt yet not sentimental, an absolutely true-blue and richly unadorned dance with the language. Then there's the deft delineation of airy space within the poems-much like small songbirds hopping to flight after feeding. There isn't a dash here to be altered. A deep pleasure on the page.
. . . It's really very rare, for a visual artist to so completely translate or, more precisely, transcribe her visual sense into words. For this reason, for me, Beasley-Baker's poems are a significant achievement.
-Robert J. Mahoney/The The Poetry
Lovers of poetry will delight in Caroline Beasley-Baker's unique style and vision. With pushing, those with a poetry aversion may be won over for no other reason than to revel in the manipulation of words on the page.