"Velie's First Edition is a brave book, doing what it must do, making art out of enormous tragedy, painting over grief with '(t)he lemon yellow paint, called joyous..."
"These poems are filled with life and all its fragile boundaries. They deal with the paralyzing terror and anger that comes with the unexpected violent loss of those we love. This powerful collection concludes ultimately the only way it can, and must, in the freedom of forgiveness."
"Dianalee Velie has been to hell and back. From the first telephone call, 'a cacophony of / horror felt through the black wire,' to the 'long tough trail home,' First Edition chronicles the journey. 'We wondered how music could ever again rise / from this barrenness,' she writes. But it has, in these brave poems illuminated by ice and fire. Describing a world of grief and splendor, First Edition is an extraordinary testament to the power of the human heart to embrace both."
"In her second book of poetry, First Edition, Dianalee Velie shares her unspeakable tragedy in an elegant outpouring of loss, longing, and hope. She charts a map of grief so intensely personal that, paradoxically, it belongs to each reader uniquely. Like her own tanscendental spirit, she does not leave us in despair, but in a place of emergence. I am reminded of the last stanza of Goethe's poem, The Holy Longing:
And so long as you haven't experienced this: to die and so to grow, you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth. Dianalee is no guest on this dark earth, but a radiant beacon of light illuminating the way for others."
"Great poetry, like great cinema, offers us the capacity to live through another person: to gain greater understanding of experiences we haven't had, to empathize with experience we have had, to find elements of ourselves within what is presented to us by another. First Edition succeeds on all levels. Readers who have the courage to take this journey are not only rewarded with well-written poetry, they are rewarded with the important reminder of the resiliency of the human spirit."
Talismanic rosary in hand.
I watch the breath of morning rise.
Warm mists, drifting upward
from the cold waters of the deep lake,
ascend into heaven. New clouds,
baby clouds form, from water to air,
a mystery unfolding before me.
Wafting east toward Mecca,
aglow with the rising sun,
they become angels with outstretched
wings, joining hands to worship the dawn.
Diminutive dots of dew descend upon
my cheeks, mix with a trace of tears,
uniting me with this celestial scene.
After all our sorrowful wailing,
are we not, after all, mostly water?
Infused with this infinite power
of transformation, my soul billows
with them; we are all one spirit
and performance only a physical illusion.
The full moon still accents the shifting sky,
and day and night are one, until
a dove coos, cracking this scarlet code
of dawn. Then reality returns.
This simply reality: somewhere in a cell
your murderer still breathes, his breath
commingling in the atmosphere with ours,
until all our bodies eventually evaporate,
join as one. This unshakable reflection
acknowledges that these temporary vessels
we call home are merely swells
in an incalculably deep ocean,
so that even through tidal waves of griefs,
we must allow the longest night
to pull us back into the light,
risking forgiveness in search of peace...
- a selection from First Edition - published 2005