Poetry News

A Force of Nature: Diana Arterian's Playing Monster :: Seiche

By Harriet Staff
Diana Arterian, Playing Monster Seiche, cover

Diana Arterian's debut collection, Playing Monster :: Seiche (1913 Press, 2017), is reviewed at New Pages by Katy Haas, who calls it a "force of nature." "Formed after its namesake, seiche, the book plows ahead, a standing wave, a constant, nonbreaking push forward," writes Haas. More:

Throughout the pages, Arterian writes with insight and honesty while weaving together the story of her family’s abuse at the hands of her father, and a period of her mother’s life in which strange men suddenly appeared with the sole goal of threatening her.

Arterian slowly fleshes out both stories, jumping back and forth between the two, using words from her own family members in poems, some of them reading like mini-interviews, and incorporating her mother’s own journal entries written during hard months of 1986. These journal entries are glimpses of light that Arterian graciously tosses to us, glimpses of light in her mother’s life when everything else was dark. While these entries are only little sentences, tiny snapshots of bright points in her day, which are centered around her children, it’s enough to give us a quick breath of air, a moment of relief from the barrage of details about abuse and intimidation.

Read more about this powerful collection at New Pages.

Originally Published: May 9th, 2018