There is a subtle and proficient music in Diane Jarvenpa's poems. They derive their power from how deeply she sees and listens to herself and to the earth. In Shy Lands she welcomes us into a world quite similar to her description of her mother's garden, its "precision of beauty, intricate storytelling, a knowledge of what blends, what harmonizes, what stands alone." And we become aware that despite the sorrow and anguish we might feel about the hell that humans have made of much of our natural world, we can still immerse ourselves in what has not been lost. Her poems remind us that we can find solace and belonging in that "light" and "articulate wonder" which can "fit so completely into the grooves of all our shadows." We can both celebrate and grieve earth's wonders, those which are extinct and those which are gloriously still with us - if we immerse ourselves in the natural world and "let it enter and grow in our bodies."
- Freya Manfred, author of Loon in Late November Water
While Diane Jarvenpa is a self-described shy person from a shy family in a shy land, she is a fierce poet. Jarvenpa's new book, Shy Lands, describes an imaginatively-animated world, a quiet family in the background, all the elements of nature which the poet has observed, consumed, and returned to the reader in another form through some exercise of magical alchemy. As I was reading her manuscript, I made notes in the margin - "Beautiful!" - "Beautiful! - until I figured I should come up with a word other than - "Beautiful." So here's the word - "Transformational". I have been transformed by these poems which is what great poetry does. Praise and Transform. Jarvenpa praises everything within her considerable range - "stamps, maps, lily pads, " "a comet or a wild fire." The old dog - "She is your teacher now./Scholar with tail,/Athena with canines." Shy Lands, the country Diane Jarvenpa inhabits, the country we all inhabit, is ravaged and threatened, but still, with her power to convert the observed into a "cold wild song," she finds for all of us some kind of inspired redemption.
- Tim Nolan, author of Lines
Diane Jarvenpa's latest collection, Shy Lands, teaches us how to engage the natural world with the careful listening of an introvert, "pushed by the wind...hearing the drops of dew." Her attention draws us to the tiny things that make up a whole landscape, and that, she tells us, "is where the village of [her] mind has brought [her]." She uses words the way an impressionist painter deploys color, "know[ing] how all this works, the close and the distant, / the heap and faded, / the swoop and the click." This new beauty is only possible in a shy and quiet land, the one she creates for us here.
- Joyce Sutphen, author of Carrying Water to the Field