Spoken Word


Labyrinth of Green

CD Release – DEEPER INTO THE FOREST — Spoken Word by Diana Hayes

Music by Andy Meyers and Susheela Dawne

Deeper Into The Forest is like an Irish song in the evening; it comforts, and yet all the challenges of life on the west coast are there. Beauty and loss. Hayes and Meyers are a perfect pairing, with sound that accompanies yet doesn’t attempt to mimic Hayes’ deep lyricism while Susheela’s stunning voice acts like a haunting melody linking the poems and the music on a higher level. Meyers has such a breadth of musical experience and desire, and Diana Hayes is fearless in her metaphors. Deeper Into The Forest is both original and evocative.
Brian Brett, Author of 13 books in three genres including Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life

I entered a magical place, difficult and exhilarating, demanding and exciting, frightening and uplifting. The three voices carried me there. I was stuck fast until they let me leave. I thank them, voices, instruments, and poems, for the adventure in mystery.
Eliane Leslau Silverman, Professor Emeritus of Woman’s Studies, University of Calgary

Diana’s poems open you to nature, immerse you in it, make you remember and experience again that there is not a place where you stop and nature starts. It’s a gritty, in-focus look a the magic in it all. Death makes its regular, natural appearances. In a palliative bed, or in the bones of last year’s kill, found settling into the loam. There is no separation from nature, our nature.
Andy Meyers, Musician and Sound Engineer, Allowed Sound Studios

Sitting in our forest studio in the twilight, listening, getting swept away by the mood that has been created. I am very grateful to have had the chance to dance in that atmosphere.
Susheela Dawne, Musician/Vocals

Deeper Into the Forest is the perfect title for Diana Hayes’ spoken word CD that includes music by Andy Myers and “wordless” vocals by Susheela Dawne. While Diana’s book, Labyrinth of Green (Plumleaf Press, 2019), is a wonder to behold, hearing the poet’s voice along with music creates a soulful encounter through sound. With “Deeper into the Forest” as the opening poem, the poet’s voice echoes as if hearing her own voice from previous walks along the forest path. It’s always a pleasure to hear a poet speak, and sing, her own words. It’s an honouring of both voice and place with “the glimmer of chorus” in “this home our dwelling place” as music and words create a glorious coalescence. Diana Hayes dwells in a special place, a West Coast temperate rainforest on a Gulf Island in the Salish Sea of which she is a part and which is part of her. Immerse yourself in the wonder of the sounds of the forest and the myriad of memories that dwell there.
Mary Ann Moore, poet, writer and writing mentor, Nanaimo, B.C.

To purchase CDs, send request via Contact Form
CDs—$12+shipping ; or $6 if purchased with a copy of “Labyrinth of Green

Deeper into the Forrest CD Release



Speak to the Earth – Diana Hayes

A Collaboration with Photographer, Seth Berkowitz
Curated by Margaret Day, ArtSpring October 2020

As soon as I saw Seth Berkowitz’ photographs, the “Screamers”, I was taken back into my past when I lived for a while on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I combed through my old notebooks and journal entries to find many synchronicities that linked these photographs to my first encounters on that coastline near Port Renfrew.

Back in the mid-1970s I was an initiate to BC’s west coast. I settled in Victoria as a university student ‘fresh off the boat from Toronto’. From May to September in those first years, I spent weekends at Orveas Bay next to Tugwell Creek, a good half-hour’s drive north of Sooke. On the shores of that beach, staying in a ramshackle cabin that shook frequently with the surf and southeasters, I watched the snow-faced Olympic Mountains melt as summer grew more intense. I had discovered the paintings of Emily Carr that first year, and the morning mists forever rolling up the pebbled shores urged me to explore the coastline and forests.

I spent time canoeing Matheson Lake and hiking the area that became refuge for Emily in her final years – now the Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary, a beautiful Douglas fir ecosystem in the Highlands district near Victoria. I also took long Saturday afternoon car rides over the logging roads out past Port Renfrew. Clear-cut logging was very much a reality back in the 70s as it is now. I may well have followed the rough road alongside Gordon River close to what is now named the Avatar Grove where Big Lonely Doug stands—a Douglas fir now 230 feet tall, surrounded by stumps from Cutblock Number 7190 and saved by logger Dennis Cronin. Here I would see the likeness in Emily’s “Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky”. It is as if we were walking into her “Loggers’ Culls” as we witnessed Port Renfrew’s screamers, the ones she knew would topple no matter the light she gave them on her canvases. The impact of deforestation was a reality in the 1930s as much as it is today.

Emily wrote in her journal, “It is a terrible sight to see a tree felled, even now, though the stumps are grey and rotting. As you pass among them you see their screamers—the cry of the tree’s heart— sticking up out of their own tomb stones, as it were. They are their own tombstones and their own mourners.”

Seth’s austere images in “Screamers” provide a powerful reminder that such threats continue. He has captured the ache and the scars of clear-cut and opened another door for me into my past when I called the beaches near Port Renfrew home.


For more poetry videos, see Diana’s YouTube Channel.