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What Diamonds Can Do, Poems by Claire Keyes
"We live dangerously," Claire Keyes writes in her incisive collection What Diamonds Can Do. And we find out what they can do: gleam; focus sharply; cut. These poems are diamond-like in their gloss, density, and richness, evoking life's dangers and joys without fear.
"The poems of Claire Keyes' What Diamonds Can Do turn their gaze upon what Adrienne Rich calls the heroic . . . ordinariness of the world with intelligence, generosity, and understanding. This is a book of people: past and present family, mythical figures, historical figures, and poignant strangers. I am especially moved by 'Angelus,' about her working class Irish family and the mother who tells her to Sing...Play the piano. Be happy, and by two beautiful poems about marriage, passion, and aging, 'Bracket Fungus' and 'Intermission at Symphony Hall'." --Ann Fisher-Wirth
"What can diamonds do? They can cut glass; they can also cut into our flesh, etch themselves on our hearts, just like these sharp narrative poems, dispatches on our daily lives, the terrible news of the world. Keyes quotes Elizabeth Bishop: Lose something every day, and this collection tallies the many ways that losses pile up. These poems are full of shining grace and memorable images that will glitter in your mind like gemstones long after you've closed the pages of this book."--Barbara Crooker
"The elegant, sculpted poems of Claire Keyes move through a life framed and informed by the myths, tragedies and triumphs of this world. From the dance of grief of a modern-day lost Achilles, to Atalanta quelled in her quest for an authentic life, to street corner, dumpster gods stretching for compassion, we navigate the labyrinth we all must inside the self. These poems recognize the still-common plight of a woman whose reach toward posterity is to write with a diamond wedding ring on a window. Just as she signs her name with a flourish, our poet-guide carves a life expressed as fullness: the sheer gutsiness of it. And we understand, for we are, with her, connected, although we don't notice it most of the time." --Patricia Lee Lewis
Claire Keyes is the author of two previous collections of poetry, The Question of Rapture and the chapbook Rising and Falling. Her poems and reviews have appeared most recently in Literary Bohemian, Sugar Mule, Oberon, Crab Orchard Review and Blackbird. In addition, she is the author of The Aesthetics of Power: The Poetry of Adrienne Rich. She has won the Robert Penn Warren Award from New England Writers as well as a first prize in poetry from Smartish Pace. The recipient of a grant in poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, she also received a poetry fellowship from the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. Professor emerita at Salem State University, she teaches in the university's lifelong learning program and lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
978-1625491282, 96 pages, $18