BBF Local Spotlight: Poet Diana Whitney | Books | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

BBF Local Spotlight: Poet Diana Whitney 

Wanting It by Diana Whitney, Harbor Mountain Press, 98 pages. $15.
  • Wanting It by Diana Whitney, Harbor Mountain Press, 98 pages. $15.

Hot tip: Wanting It, by Brattleboro-based Diana Whitney, is a volume of poems that may make you beg for more. This debut from Brownsville's Harbor Mountain Press burns with intensity and observations clarified by desire.

Collectively, these narrative poems chart a woman's experience moving through the landscape of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom and beyond. The book's first sequence of poems begins in Peckerville, a fictional one-pickup-truck town located "at the intersection of dust and corn." Here, in the least populated part of the state, the narrator, a rural siren, "tried on men like dresses," she recalls. But the speaker's flaunted singularity soon gives way to poems that admit to a different kind of longing. In "Making Babies," she encounters "Leah & her 6-month belly ... sit[ting] proud in the tight bib of her overalls / ... / One baby, two babies, / three babies by winter, & I'm falling farther behind," the speaker laments.

In addition to portraying a young woman moving stealthily toward marriage and family, the poems evoke a love affair with place. Whitney's descriptions caress location. In Maine, she writes, a cabin's dark is "a lake made of blankets"; "[a] fish in the hand is an electrical charge, / wet life twitching for water," and you hear the "[r]ustle of the stashed sail / rolled around the mast."

More frequently, though, Whitney conjures the quieter quarters of Vermont, pinning down each season's sensuous beauties. Local readers will recognize the "knee-deep" buttercups and "drenched clover" of May; late summer's "yellow fist apples / blackberry thumbs, wild ginger / glazing the cedar woods"; and the great body of winter sliding ecstatically from the roof: "two hundred pounds of deep wet snow / rumbling the pitch like thunder."

INFO

Whitney reads at the Burlington Book Festival on Saturday, September 20, 3 p.m., at the Fletcher Room, Fletcher Free Library. Free.

Related Locations

More...
Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Julia Shipley

Julia Shipley

Bio:
Julia Shipley is a contributing arts & life writer based in the Northeast Kingdom. She's written for Seven Days since 2012.

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Books

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation