We Are the Sum of Tiny Spaces, Diana Brantley’s second book of poetry, offers fifty new poems written in her forthright, engaging voice. She returns to her favorite subjects: nature (“Earliest Spring in Zirconia”), history (“Postcard”), family lore (“Land of Cush”), friendship (“Barbara”), and the vagaries of human knowledge (“Wien”). She also celebrates collaboration. Meditating on fiction, music, pictures, and poetry, she channels fellow artists—Fowles, Keats, Klimt, Mozart—and converses with her husband, daughters, and grandsons. Illustrations for this volume, both Diana’s photographs and David Fulton’s watercolor, as well as Justine Brantley’s print, deepen the resonance of the poems they accompany. Gabriel Fulton’s setting of one of the poems to music adds art song to this surprisingly eclectic mix.
Parallel to her more than thirty years of teaching English, Diana Brantley increasingly found poetry a second calling. She writes out of love for family and region, as well as for language and history. Florida and North Carolina are both home to Diana and her husband Richard, where they share a life of reading, writing, and laughter (see “Funnyman”). Educated at Wake Forest and Rutgers, Diana again shares her ideas and experience in this, her second book of poems, following Phases (Culicidae Press, 2011).
Thank you, Diana, for taking the time to bring your poem [“Wien”] to my door. I read it this morning, over breakfast. You always give your reader the opportunity to think and question.Bernadette Cailler, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Florida author, most recently, of Carthage ou la flame du brasier (2007)
Diana Brantley deftly illumines the miracles inherent in the everyday. Whether considering “the vagaries of genetic soup” or “cramming knowledge into crannies. . . of memory,” Brantley shows that all our experiences help make us unique. Be it family or friendships or music or nature or inevitably evolving perceptions of life, the author’s precise use of language unerringly proves that we are, indeed, “the sum of tiny spaces.Marilyn McComas, poet and author of Palace of Imaginings (2019)