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Segue 10: Fall 2011  ||  Brian Diamond


about the author


Brian Diamond’s poetry has previously appeared in such literary journals as Sycamore Review, Hotel Amerika, Los Angeles Review, 42 Opus, 14 Hills, and the Drunken Boat. He has an MA in Creative Writing from California State Northridge and an MFA from Arizona State University. Currently he lives in Los Angeles with his wife and dog, where he teaches writing and literature at American Jewish University.


about the work


These poems are the result of my ongoing interest with the sonnet form. Or perhaps, I should say, a bastardized version of the sonnet form, owing probably more Berrigan and Lowell and Berryman than anything else. What interests me is the contrast between expansive subject matter (ranging here from mathematics to philosophy to daily ruminations) and the restrictions of a 14-line form. In this way, these poems serve as filters for a more expansive poetic language, employing sonnet-like turns on the external world as experienced through language.

All of these poems began with some larger idea, anchored in a particular image. The challenge in writing them, for me, is primarily the desire of the form for coherence, with the impulse of the subject matter to resist this coherence. I’ve tried to find, as best I could, the balance between a tolerance for ambiguity with an impulse for concrete images. I’ve looked to poet’s like Rae Armantrout, Laura Riding Jackson, and Norman Dubie (thus his appearance in one of these poems) as a model for how to accomplish this.

For me, poetry is a framework for understanding the world. I turn to poetry for the particular form of clarity that comes out of complicating what we might otherwise mistake as simple.



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