Blues, Prayers, & Pagan Chants
Alien Buddha Press, February 2024
Now Available at Amazon.com

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Neil Leadbeater reviewer for Quill and Press writes:
Blues, Prayers & Pagan Chants has a scriptural ring to it. Several possible
threads hold these words together, one of them being music. Two poems that occur
in the middle of the collection both confirm this notion and offer us further clues.
In the prose poem "Burning Blue" the title almost comes out of the wash whole
in the following lines:A blue woman's reaching fingertips cannot always touch
prayers inner lining of protection or climb out of memories' pagan chants

and in the poem "Dogwood" the title makes its appearance in its truest form:
sparrows, goldfinches, mockingbirds / singing blues, prayers and pagan chants.
Even though these poems are very different from each other in style, mood and content,
the threefold structure of blues, prayers and pagan chants fits their subject matters
very well. Click here for Review

Charles Rammelkamp reviewer for London Grip Poetry writes:
Like all the best poetry, Blues, Prayers & Pagan Chants makes you reconsider
your ethical and aesthetic assumptions about life and the world and offers
a different, deeper perspective. Click here for Review

Dennis Daly reviewer for BOSTON AREA SMALL PRESS AND
Are there parallel universes that complete us, that deliver meaning where there seems
to be only chaos: a place, perhaps, for prayers to be delivered, petitions to be filed,
unholy chants to be rhythmically sounded out, and sadnesses to be unfolded into wonder
and song? Diane Sahms, at least in a literary sense, seems to think so. In her marvelous
new book, Blues, Prayers, and Pagan Chants Sahms connects with this other shadow
sometimes sacred) reality, often using memory as her catalyst and nature as her medium.
Click here for Review

Alien Buddha's SPOTLIGHT: Blues, Prayers, & Pagan Chants
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What others say about Blues, Prayers, & Pagan Chants:

Diane Sahms' Blues, Prayers & Pagan Chants provides an intricate and poignant experience
with insight and connection to the world around us and the worlds within us. Sahms writes
with the beauty of Kingfisher-wings, delicate, yet profoundly strong. Sahms' poems and
observations of birds are truly enlightening and captivating in their passion and clarity,
such poems nest in the mind for a long time afterwards. The pictures she creates are alive,
they are moving within the images of the words. Love is also ever present throughout Sahms'
poetry and she calmly reflects and retraces love's many strands in moving portraits of friends
and family. She writes with a courage and an energy that becomes compelling for the reader.
A poet who can write the line, You are as forgotten as wedding rice is a poet that needs
to be read and embraced.
John D Robinson, Poet & Publisher, Holy & Intoxicated Publications.

If it's true that the only way to make it through all this is music, then Diane Sahms
has found the key. In form and style, the poems in her new collection are a symphony.
Sahms' voice is the conductor. These poems are nothing less than intensely observed
and explored from within, with the right amount of rhyme and reason to keep us listening.
Douglas Cole, The Gold Tooth in The Crooked Smile of God & The Blue Island.
Winner of the American Fiction Award for The White Field.

Diane Sahms' new work Blues, Prayers & Pagan Chants is both, poetic time capsule and hour glass.
Sahms' poetry, along with her rhythmical lyric gift for heightened imagery is proficient
at capturing the essence of each character, feeling, or environment that she uncovers for her
readers. Sahms' poetry encapsulates the manner, mode, and visage of tangibles like nature,
animals, and human interaction with the same kind of precision and lexical command of lyrical
and rhythmic descriptors that ultimately mirrors the very essence of each subject undertaken.
Blues, Prayers & Pagan Chants by Diane Sahms is a portal to a special place and a way
of looking at life that we all need to have access to.
Dr. Kimmika L. H. Williams-Witherspoon, Professor, Urban Theater
& Community Engagement.Temple University.

Luna, the lesser light - Chapbook
Moonstone Press, August 2023
Now Available at Moonstone

Click here to purchase the chapbook

Diane Sahms'Luna, the lesser light is a delightful collection of short poems
honoring the moon. They are wonderful pieces best read and absorbed while sitting
in the darkness of night and looking with wondrous eyes at the lesser light
in the evening sky. I am especially fond of her collection of poems about the full moons,
a subject I always find inspiring. This marvelous collection of works should find its way
into the library of anyone who has a fascination with the moon or the night sky in general.
Paul Gilliland, Poet & Editor-in-Chief at Southern Arizona Press

City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia)
Alien Buddha Press, November 2022
Now Available at Amazon.com

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Jerome Berglund reviewer for Setu, Bilingual Monthly Journal writes:
Human frailty and deviance are also rarely as engagingly depicted, articulated poetically
with the flair you will recognize peppering this collection. A certain timeless darkness
and noir, true crime flavor reminiscent of Scorsese, David Mamet, Mulholland Drive is woven
masterfully, somewhat unexpectedly throughout, and makes for some of the most compelling
and memorable passages. Truly an original and memorable book which deserves attention
and thoughtful exploring, these are techniques and subjects free verse truly benefits from
invoking, and readers and writers alike will be well served observing closely.
Diane Sahms is a poet of enormous talent and potential to keep on your radar, I'm excited
to see where her instincts and inclinations next take her!
Click here for Review

Olga Ponomareva reviewer for Valley Voices, A Literary Review writes:
Diane Sahms's City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia) is a balanced and controversial
as a book of well-written poetry can be. It is deeply personal and impressionably
abstract at the same time. It lifts you up to the starry worlds and pulls you down
to the inner matter of earth. The flow is simple, but the words are mystical;
the narrative is straightforward, but the images are mysterious. What brings
all of her poems together is the author's meticulous attention to detail
and the immaculate awareness of the soul. In short, it is a wonderful read
for those who seek spiritual connection, understanding, and compassion.
Click here for Review, pg.136

Alien Buddha's Featured Artist for September 2023
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What others say about City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia):

In Diane Sahms's ambitious City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia) there are classical elements,
the prominence of the elegiac as well as the lyrical and an oracular power that echoes back
to Greece, yet remains rooted in Philadelphia. The language soars blooms, although
with a dark undertone, illuminating the shadow and shading the light. The meticulous
pairing of the shadow and light allows the reader to explore the connective tissue between
the seemingly unalike. Sahms' syntax alone imparts a musicality and a dissonance to her work.
Readers are jarred into a heightened realm of acuity. Heroin's inner arm of a clawing dragon/
he never slew
and Blue Heron's Blue-gray architecture wades slowly, deliberately/leads slavish eyes
knee-deep into still waters.
They are yoked together like duets. In her Suite for Iris
the poet's persona explores the world from the perspective of Iris who exists in the liminal zone
of part human-part flora, a fertile intersection of the primeval and the reasoned.
Iris, tall stalk before shears, /rhizome's roots as heart's arteries.
Sahms' often heretical visions push brilliantly into an unseen darkness.
Stephanie Dickinson, author of The Emily Fables and Big Headed Anna Imagines Herself.

Wade into the mirror with Diane Sahms as she unveils and unravels identities probing for
meaning and finding connections. Different life forms fuse into a universal soul
in these heart shuttling sojourns that sonically imagine the magic of spirits united.
Morality and mortality yield their secrets in exhilarating lyric passages in which
emptiness is purified via resolute perception and consequent insight.
Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

In City of Shadow and Light (Philadelphia), Diane Sahms looks upward to the cosmic, then
comes back to the personal, in poems that are full of natural imagery and (often) mystery.
The focal point is the first city, Philadelphia, and its inhabitants, particularly those
connected to the poet. We meet ones who create and others who struggle. What brings
them together is the poet's care for each and every one. Through these poems, you will gain a
new appreciation for a place and some of its ordinary (and extraordinary) people.
This is an eye-opening, heart-tugging collection.
Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of Tricks of Light.

Diane Sahms's City of Shadow & Light deals with the loss of two sons and continues to hearken
more challenges as the book unfolds. But as she quotes from Jung in one epigraph,
dark shadows only heighten the brightness of light. Thus, the book's ending of light
is hard-earned, and the fortitude is as inspiring as the brave Raven, who stole light /
from total darkness // for everyone.
The reader is left gladdened that this poet
managed to retain her voice and that, despite everything, that voice, still sings.
Eileen R. Tabios

COVID-19, 2020: A Poetic Journal
Moonstone Press, August 2021
Now Available at Moonstone

Click here to purchase the chapbook

Megan Milligan of the Northeast Times writes:
Sahms-Guarnieri's work embodies the magnitude of feelings felt
at the beginning of the pandemic. Readers are left with the heaviness
that 2020 left behind, but also gratitude that they survived
a truly chaotic year.

Click here for Review

As sobering as Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year
when the Bubonic Plague devasted London, Diane Sahms-Guarnieri's
Covid-19, 2020is a grim recounting of the horrible year through which
we have just lived.
Starting with the ironically named March Madness section, a term
that usually refers to the annual NCAA basketball tournament but so
succinctly captures the mass disorientation, like a sci-fi movie, yet real,
as she notes on 3-23-2020, the journal proceeds through April, the cruelest month,
mixing death and rebirth in its stew of life, into the horrific summer
of 2020 - 185,000 dead in the United States by Labor Day - and into fall/winter
with the mounting dead, the glimmer of hope that a vaccine may soon be available.
The collection ends on New Year's Eve, over 350,000 Americans dead
under the chaotic leadership of the Trump administration, the most of any nation
in the world. Along the way, as if the pandemic were not bad enough,
Sahms-Guarnieri addresses the social turmoil that tore the country apart,
the racial injustice that spawned BLM.
Sahms-Guarnieri captures the fear and loneliness so eloquently in the April poem,
Nature & Mothers Weeping, which begins:

Horrific scene played on TV
a mother weeping & wailing
for daughter, dead. COVID-19.

Last seen alive via FaceTime:
Mom, I can't breathe.

I, with thoughts of my only
living daughter, weep
for those whom I don't know

As Defoe wrote over three centuries ago, everyone looked on himself and his family
as in the utmost danger...London might well be said to be all in tears.

Charles Rammelkamp, author of Ugler Lee and Mortal Coil

The Handheld Mirror of the Mind
Kelsay Press, July 2018
Now Available at Amazon.com

Click here to purchase book at Amazon

Frank Wilson of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes:
'Handheld Mirror': Well-chosen words as emotional abstract art

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri's latest collection addresses much of import:
separation of a mother from her child, loss of a beloved aunt,
an elderly woman's loss of memory, environmental anxiety,
all set within a passion for the light and color embodied in
flowers, trees, and birds. But what catches your attention right away
is the innovative use of language Sahms-Guarnieri has taken to
employing in order to address them. ...If poetry is anything, it is
the search for combinations of words whose sound and sense
most nearly match that mix of heartbreak and joy at the heart
of things that we call experience. The poems gathered in this volume
demonstrate that the search can often prove pretty intense.

Click here for Review

Logan Krum of the Northeast Times writes:
Guarnieri is a fluid writer. Her writing uses conceptual images
and descriptions to tell her stories, her words washing over them
like river water over a boulder...Her handheld mirror
is polished perfectly.

Click here for Review

Poetry of global dreaming. Life on earth is under threat and
Diane Sahms-Guarnieri makes a poetic call for the survival of humans
and all animal species, life on the endangered list. We are all connected
and interdependent. Our past teaches us core lessons for the future.
Now is the time to take action to preserve life on the global home we share.
Diane's poetry is a celebration of this life, inside and out.
Martin Chipperfield, 34th Parallel Magazine

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri is a stunning wordsmith. In her collection,
The Handheld Mirror of the Mind, we journey through themes
of loss, grief, our shared humanity, and the complexities of the inner life.
With great tenderness and lyricism, Guarnieri skillfully navigates
these topics. Her graceful descriptions of the natural world provide
a vivid magic, as if painting with words. In one poem, Guarnieri refers
to stars, as pinprick diamonds mined out of / night's cave, luminous studs /
riveted through black velvet.
She deals with death and the expectation
of loss with care, infusing the life of nature, as in the line,
Your dusty voice rising as spirit leaving mimosa.
There is also great comfort, as in the refrain of the poem,
As long as a heart is beating someone is always alive.
While dealing with human struggles, this collection offers hope.
Guarnieri invites us to honor all beings, all creatures, and all
understandings of faith by joining together,
as global dreamers in coexistence.

Cristina M. R. Norcross, Editor of Blue Heron Review; author of
Amnesia and Awakenings and Still Life Stories, among others.

What does a heart know anyway? Diane Sahms-Guarnieri's lucid and brave
fourth full-length collectionThe Handheld Mirror of the Mind wrestles
with this question, as love and loss pass as naturally as the seasons.
Through elegy and aubade, the speaker turns her gaze inward,
interrogating the darkness. However, as she sifts through memory's wreckage,
there are patches of light and hope, of song. As the speaker reconciles:
I carry their song inside my body, / inside rhapsody of thoughts /
To them I sing this easy truth.

Emari DiGiorgio, author of Girl Torpedo and
The Things a Body Might Become

Night Sweat
Red Dashboard Press, January 2016
Now Available at Amazon.com

Click here to purchase book at Amazon

Wherever Diane Sahms-Guarnieri takes you, she takes you all the way there,
soul and senses rendered high-definition cameras, taking in history, loss,
family, humor, and eros in a world brought alive. Night Sweat,
her new book, moves among her beloved Philadelphia and environs, Old City,
Christ Church, where “the present belongs and does not belong,” even
the drug dealers at Frankford Terminal - then we’re in a bed of fire
and fondly remembered love, then “friendship, the hinge of a calm shell,”
then a flower field, with “seductive” tulips and “slightly badass”
dandelions, then ancestors, relationship, descent from Lenape settlers
and from the stars alike (“Stars connect us: they are lineage”).
This poet is a singer, of car accident, graffiti artist, or the marriage
(told in a hilarious poem) of William Carlos Williams and Flossie.
After reading Night Sweat, you will live in a different world — or,
rather, thanks to Diane Sahms-Guarnieri,the world you always lived in,
all aching beauties laid bare.
John Timpane, Assistant Books Editor/Media Editor Writer,
Philadelphia Inquirer

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri’s Night Sweat is a moving collection of poems.
In Sahms-Guarnieri’s poem “Sunset” she writes:
“Everything has its own way of entering into night.”
Many of her most memorable poems are intimate and unprecious portraits
of people and urban landscapes and the psychic interplay of each
in the other. Here people and places live inside each other
and vice versa. In the poem “Delaware River” she describes the river as
“a snake/who has swallowed a mouse/it carries it through night/like a dark
and dirty secret.” There is also much flora and fauna in the book, but
Sahms-Guarnieri’s edge remains. She writes “I have come to mistrust
the wisdom of trees/ their disguises.”Sahms-Guarnieri is a tough
and tender poet. Her poems bridge time and memory
in ways that unexpectedly reveal our present.
Thomas Devaney, poet and author of The Picture that Remains
and A Series of Small Boxes

In Night Sweat, Diane Sahms-Guarnieri explores the physical
and emotional landscapes of the places and people she loves
She knows these places. She knows these people.
And she writes with both the authority and humility
of a poet fully engaged with these worlds.
Jim Daniels, Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English,
Carnegie Mellon University

In a city that looks back, reflective as the moon,
Diane Sahms-Guarnieri hangs life on the line from clothespin
to clothespin to clothespin, billowing in the night breeze,
a breeze that chills but does not cool.The light Night Sweat
sheds on the city is not the glare of sun, but the haunting
vision of moonlight that touches at once the subliminal
and the sublime. In a striking array of poetic images,
reflecting together Ash Can Art and Georgia O’Keefe,
haunting and dazzling at once, as moonlight illuminations
provide tantalizing glimpses in a landscape revealed only to
the exquisite extent that moonlight allows.
Mike Cohen, Host of Poetry Aloud and Alive &
Contributing Editor of the Schuylkill Valley Journal

Light's Battered Edge
Anaphora Literary Press, October 2015
Now Available at Amazon.com

Click here to purchase book at Amazon

The familiar Gospel song may reassure us that "His eye is on the sparrow,"
but for those at the battered edges of our society, too often it doesn't
seem that way. Here, Diane Sahms-Guarnieri catches sight of
"a sparrow by its own forgotten self,"
and that sparrow stands in for other "forgotten" ones: the homeless,
the wrecked, the ill,a family of forebears "visited" by comprehensive
Job-like "Misery." Even as she shows us "light's battered edges," however,
Sahms-Guarnieri makes us sharply aware of
"life playing / disharmoniously and harmoniously": love so close it's
"like being safely snug inside / the lining of another's skin";earth itself
surrendering "to each / sunset" "in a thankful swaying sort of way";
a soul snatched up animistically, "lifting, lifting, lifting into light."
These compelling poems leave us disquieted, as much by beauty as by sorrow.
Nathalie F. Anderson, Author of Quiver
Professor, Swarthmore College

Think of the spirit of place as the frame of memory shaping language,
of the perpetual soliloquy of being who you are in counterpoint
with echoing phrases others have uttered at or to you,
and you will have some idea of the chant and enchantment
of the poems gathered in Light's Battered Edge.
There are some hard truths in these poems -
about abusive spouses, about the wear and tear
of caring for others. But underlying it all
is the sense of what love really means.
Frank Wilson, books, INQ. - THE EPILOGUE

Images of Being
Stone Garden Publishing, October 2011

Click here to purchase book at Amazon

1. Nicolette Milholin of the Montgomery County News
“Like a well-written memoir, Sahms-Guarnieri’s work
shoots straight to the center of human experience
instead of hiding pain under a false fabric of pretension.”

Click here for Review

2.Barbara Bialick of the Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene
“to Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, images are an all-important way
she remembers people from her childhood and on into motherhood.”

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3.Christine O'Leary Rockey of the Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel
“Her writing is wonderfully conservative in that way that poets
strive for- each word matters and is artfully placed against another
to create maximum impact in sometimes very small spaces."

Click here for Review