The Choreography of Desire

Photograph by Diana Hayes from On The Way To Mektoub seriesThe Choreography of Desire

(photographs, prose narratives, poetry) Rainbow Publishers. 1999.
Vancouver. 85 pages
ISBN No. 1-55056-638-5

In this collection of poems, narrative photographs and stories, Diana Hayes describes the themes explored in the book’s introduction:

“Nothing of natural substance is permanent. What we are seeking through erotic expression is to defy the cycles in nature. Death, “The great stepmother of Eros”, turns a blind eye. We are dying every minute of our lives yet under the veil of Eros we glimse the infinite. There we can believe the body is timeless and thereby will transcend the laws of the natural world.

Everywhere the landscape is shifting and changing, ebbing and flowing. The impermanence of nature is nowhere more apparnt than at the seashore. Creatures rise up and reveal their frailty and their strength as each wave washes our eyes. Yet it is this suggestion of the infinite that arouses our vitality and brings us to the lap of Eros wishing to sing.”

on The Choreography of Desire

This is a work of great physical intelligence. In her poems and photographs Diana Hayes explores the boundaries between male and female, passionate and mystical, in language and image at once utterly sensual and utterly transcendent. The searching force of her voice and vision discovers fusion at these boundaries we often see as fixed, and becomes the spirit incarnate, “the sparrow’s arcing flight”.

Desire is what the mind forgets when the body remembers, a kind of wanting, palpable, as these poems tell us. Wounds are like wanting, a kind of memory Diana Hayes knows, counting the scars, celebrating what we do when we are with some one, when we are alone.

The poetry of Diana Hayes has a fearless quality, a near delight in taking on the edges of romance without going too far towards sentimentality, in mingling the traditional with the modern. She writes the alchemy of pain and desire in excruciatingly beautiful, almost crystalline images, all somehow flowing like smoke in a distinctive voice.

This combination of verbal and visual imagery transcends the sensual and brings us close to the insubstantiality of dream.