labyrinthJohn Diamond-Nigh
York Press ($10)

by Paul D. Dickinson

Using a breezily inflected mind web, John Diamond-Nigh slips this elegant collection of poems somewhere right between the eyeball and the brain. Inspired by his travels and his roving vision of the cataclysms of life, both external and internal, this poet builds little castles that may tremble but will not fall. Obsessed with history and architecture, Diamond-Nigh uses words to pry open rusty worlds and bring them to light. The images he plays with respond as if they are electrified. This linguistic concoction reveals and unfolds itself to the reader in "kilelkopf," a section of the poem entitled "Three Swiss": " a long diaphanous iron stair / spirals down a gray abyss / past smoky rainbows / waterfalls / walls pocked / with pattering loggias of lichen and moss / past the cold shutters / of a sunless underworld." As this book comes together, expanding and contracting, one begins to believe that every old brick and piece of iron is alive and ready to pounce. Diamond-Nigh also gets us lost in the drama of his hyper-charged secret history, one that he seems to get locked into with every glance and rumination, every dream and every abstract thought. Labyrinth draws us in to seek out this "sunless underworld" lost within its walls, to see what can be found.

Rain Taxi Print Edition, Vol.3 No. 1, Spring (#9) | © Rain Taxi, Inc. 1998