Diana Hayes studied at the Universities of British Columbia and Victoria, receiving a B.A. and M.F.A. in Creative Writing. At UBC she was poetry editor of Prism International from 1980 to 1982. Her published books include Moving Inland, The Classical Torso in 1980, The Choreography of Desire, and Coming Home (anthology). Her play, Islomania: Saga of the Settlers, was produced by Salt of the Earth Productions in 1984 as a tribute to early Salt Spring Island pioneers. She has been production manager for Salt Spring's Theatre Alive, a member of Photosynthesis and started the Salt Spring Seal Swim Team in 2002. Hayes has expanded her poetic vision into the realm of photographic dreamscapes and narratives. She divides her time between writing, photography, producing literary events and working as a professional fundraiser.

CITY/TOWN: Salt Spring Island

PLACE OF BIRTH: Toronto

EMPLOYMENT OTHER THAN WRITING: Hospital Administration

[Photo by Alane Lalonde]

BOOKS:

Labyrinth of Green, Poems and Photographs (Plumleaf Press, An Imprint of Rubicon Publishing 2019) 978-1-4867-3270-2
This is the Moon's Work: New and Selected Poems (Mother Tongue 2011) $19.95 978-1-896949-11-6
Coming Home (anthology), 2003 Rainbow Publishers
The Choreography of Desire, 1999 Rainbow Publishers
The Classical Torso in 1980, 1987 Pulp Press
Moving Inland, 1979 Fiddlehead Poetry Books
Two of Swords (anthology, co-editor), 1976 Poets' Trust

[BCBW 2019] "Poetry" "Stageplay"

 

REVIEW


[Published in the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, on Dec. 11, 2019]

Hayes shares ?Labyrinth of Green?
Poetry and images found in new book and library exhibit

By Elizabeth Nolan

Diana Hayes? remarkable talents are fully evident this month, with release of her new book Labyrinth of Green and a photo exhibit at the Salt Spring Public Library showcasing her wonderful way with both words and image.

Though small in size and just about 100 pages, Labyrinth of Green holds a remarkable range of expression. The Plumleaf Press publication is beautifully produced, with its bright white cover and pages set off by full-colour images.

Hayes has provided new poetry divided into five different categories that move from reflections on her youth and her family to experiences with nature, through to death and beyond. Supplementing these thoughtful meditations are her own beautiful photos, plus quotations from fellow poets, introductory passages and even the odd footnote. End notes provide more information on the provenance of some of the poems.

Hayes is certainly adept at the poetic use of language, shaping complex thoughts and layers of meaning into spare and elegant arrangements of words. The visual and emotional imagery of a single stanza can be breathtaking. Take for example the beginning of Psyche and the Ladder, which addresses the lessons of adolescence through the metaphors of Greek mythology and its underworld. ?A switch gets tripped/without warning she steps blind/ into the sinkhole dropping/ from daylight to pitch night/ feeling only the blood on her shins.?

In the section related to death, Hayes ably demonstrates the Celtic reverence for the transformation and the close connection between the natural and eternal worlds, with birds often acting as medium and messenger. The poems These Little Deaths and Thirteen Ways to Free a Crow offer eyewitness accounts of life and death as close at hand as the backyard. Hayes illustrates the heartbreak of ?small? deaths in a way that honours our emotional capacity for grief and opens the possibility of mystery beyond, even while accepting that the natural cycle of life necessarily includes its loss.

?Raven?s chorus strikes grief by the neck/ the forest a dark audience,? she writes in These Little Deaths.

Hayes? library exhibition is testament to her long commitment to expression in multiple formats. The lobby showcase displays some of her many previous publications, including books and programs for the Theatre Alive literary series she cofounded with author Brian Brett.

The photo exhibit in the program room features some of the images from her new book, including those of lovely green, stony places in Ireland and England that speak to Hayes? connection to her ancestry. There are also some interesting examples from photo series in which Hayes? dreams played a strong role.

The photo show continues through December. Look for Labyrinth of Green at local shops or the library.

For more on this story, see the Dec. 11, 2019 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.