— Marjory Wentworth, South Carolina Poet Laureate
I read Dianalee Velie’s The Alchemy of Desire over a long, quiet weekend, and in between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, I went on a journey like none I’d ever been on before; I walked back into a world that was entirely different, because I was entirely different. In this rich, juicy, poignant, and sometimes hilarious collection, Velie celebrates what it is to be alive and human and sentient in this troubled and amazing world. At the core of each poem in this collection is the great heart of the poet herself, and what is even more critical than what is included in these poems is what is left out. There is restraint burning in the margins and stanza breaks. Dianalee Velie knows what it means to love and lose, and love and laugh, and walks the fine line between the two with the skill of a poet at the height of her power. Enjoy this beautiful ride!
— Lisa Starr, Rhode Island Poet Laureate Emeritus
Dianalee Velie’s collection of poems, The Alchemy of Desire, explores a woman’s journey through devastating loss to find a path of self-discovery and healing. Velie’s image-rich, mostly narrative poems propel the reader through a gamut of experiences, which include humor, sensuality, family, and responses to art, music, history and myth. The voice in the poems manifests an indomitable spirit, rising above unspeakable grief. In her poem “Unchained” Velie writes:
Like the unchained performer,
my soul twists like a snake
around memories of Eden,
a time before the disappearance
of happiness. For the moment,
I am unfettered, free of grief,
crowing, like the rooster,
for a new dawn, faithful
I will find my way in the dark.
— Lori Desrosiers, Editor, The Naugatuck River Review