All Things Diode


Ricky Ray, author of Fealty, is a longlist finalist for the 2019 Julie Suk Award. The award honors an outstanding book of poetry published by a literary press in 2019. Congratulations, Ricky!

In Ricky Ray's debut collection, Fealty, the world quickly reveals itself as more complex and mysterious than we imagined. In poems surreal, feral, visceral, and yet tender, moving, and wise, Ray guides us through themes of love, death, animism, fidelity, belonging, and care. There is something of the ancients in his consciousness, which continually reminds us that we not only inhabit the earth, but are movements of the earth itself. Ray's connection to creatures great and small feels elemental; dog and dandelion stand beside man and mountain in the light. His eco-poetics, reminiscent of Wendell Berry and Joy Harjo, carries the dark passion of duende and the rhythmic swing of jazz manouche. All told, Ricky Ray is a modern-day mystic, and Fealty is a series of startling visions capable of inducing a more intimate kinship with the world.

Praise for Fealty:

Ever in service to poetry, Ricky Ray's Fealty is a harrowing inquest into the connective tissue between self and other. The outlines and boundaries of being materialize and dissipate in turns in his poetic worlds. The self shifts; the self inhabits other selves; the spirit can possess and be possessed. Each blade of grass, each lightning strike, each pool of blood, each log fresh from the chopping block pulses with the poet's heartbeat, which he in turn freely feeds to the wolves and horses, the unwanted animals, the struggling, the decaying and the dead. In probing and electrifying verse, Ricky Ray's poems offer a bounty of a world in which every heartbreak, every brokenness, every death and despair transform into this very necessary living being of a book.   — Jenny Boully, author of The Body: An Essay

Ricky Ray's poems, sure of syntax and direct of speech, paradoxically succeed in bringing us deep into what he calls "the anguish of entanglement", which is to say the anguish of our intertwine with other species. The shifting ground between the human animal and the other animals, and between the animal and the plant, is, in his writing, always powerfully felt. If the biped's legs are dead wood, then dead wood dares lightning to strike, an ecstatic roar to brighten, a fire to warm or kill. A wild horse runs through these poems as well, stopping long enough to stare us down, to shiver us with duende. Beneath it all one feels the psycho-geography of what we now call "The Florida Everglades," that primordial soup in which life forms emerge, merge, or cancel one another out. There is nothing permanent about either "everglades" or "evergreens": Ricky Ray's Fealty is a celebration of the most extreme fragilities of the body and the planet. — Leonard Schwartz, author of If

This book is the sermon we need after hours, when life’s sorrow overtakes our vision. — Natalie Eilbert, author of Indictus

Inventiveness, lyricism and mystery—I like the way he plays with memory and finally catches memory off its guard. — Claudia Emerson, Pulitzer laureate and author of Late Wife

Ricky Ray was born in Florida and educated at Columbia University. He is the founding editor of Rascal: a Journal of Ecology, Literature and Art.His awards include the Cormac McCarthy Prize, the Ron McFarland Poetry Prize, the Fortnight Poetry Prize and a Whisper River Poetry Prize. His work has appeared widely in periodicals and anthologies, includingThe American Scholar, The Matador Review, Amaryllis, Scintilla and Fugue.He lives in Harlem with his wife, three cats, and a Labradetter. Their bed, like any good home of the heart, is frequently overcrowded. 

Read more about Fealty at the link here.

KC Trommer, author of We Call Them Beautiful, is a 2020 Eric Hoffer First Horizon Award Finalist. Congratulations, KC!

From the Eric Hoffer Award website:

As the annual judging draws to a close, the First Horizon Award finalists are announced prior to the Eric Hoffer Award grand prize. This small list of finalists is an honored distinction of its own and is announced publicly during the spring of each award year.

About the Author

KC Trommer is the author of We Call Them Beautiful (Diode Editions, 2019), as well as the chapbook The Hasp Tongue (dancing girl press, 2014). A graduate of the MFA program at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, she has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and her poem “Fear Not, Mary” won the 2015 Fugue Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in AGNI, The Antioch Review, Blackbird, Octopus, The Sycamore Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry East, and in the anthologies Resist Much, Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance (Spuyten Duyvil, 2017) and Who Will Speak for America? (Temple University Press, 2018). She is the curator of the online audio project QUEENSBOUND. You can find her at

About the Collection

We Call Them Beautiful is a vibrant debut, filled with emergencies and responses to them. “This, all this,/is the making of you,” the poet KC Trommer writes, reminding us that what we live through changes us and the stories we tell about our lives. In these poems of love, pleasure, and survival, the poet navigates the cold menace of the Atlantic Ocean, the wild terrors of sex and carnival rides, the bittersweetness of watching her sleeping child’s quiet breathing, all while mapping the power, joy, and dangers of being a woman in the world. Drawing its strength from discovery, We Call Them Beautiful explores the necessary making and remaking of the self, through art and stories, while looking unflinchingly at the ways that time works on us all.

Dorothy Chan, author of Revenge of the Asian Woman, is a 2020 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in the category of Bisexual Poetry. Congratulations, Dorothy!

From Lambda Literary:

We’re proud to announce the finalists in 24 categories for the 32nd Annual Lambda Literary Awards. The finalists were selected by a panel of over 60 literary professionals from more than 1,000 book submissions from over 300 publishers.

About the Author

Dorothy Chan is the author of Chinese Girl Strikes Back (Spork Press, forthcoming), Revenge of the Asian Woman (Diode Editions, 2019), Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, 2018), and the chapbook Chinatown Sonnets (New Delta Review, 2017). She is a 2020 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Bisexual Poetry for Revenge of the Asian Woman, a 2019 recipient of the Philip Freund Prize in Creative Writing from Cornell University, and a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship. Her work has appeared in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets, and elsewhere. Chan is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Poetry Editor of Hobart. Visit her website at

About the Collection

“Who doesn’t think kissing is the greatest thing / in the world other than eating?” Revenge of the Asian Woman comes to life on a sexed-up soap opera / B-movie platter where passion and food and fantasy reign supreme: excess in the form of full odes and triple sonnets with towers of macarons and carnival desserts and Hong Kong street food on a skewer—and make it a double.

The East Asian girl boss takes her revenge on those who have fetishized her, looking great in gold booty shorts, because “If I played roller derby, my name would be Yellow Fever, / knocking out all those white boys from college / who used to whisper sweet nothings to me // in Mandarin.” She narrates her parents’ love story, the Chinese-American immigrant dream, her eastern zodiac fate, and her own sexual awakening. Revenge comes to life with scenes that mimic the movies: the speaker’s father as a young boy in Hong Kong running into a circus tent, winning a rice eating contest; young lovers in LA at 3 in the morning; and a forehead that is “too Godzilla, too Tarzan / too Wonder Woman”—scenes of a Chinese American experience, one in which the female speaker is “ready for takeoff,” while paying homage to her heritage: a grandmother who wants to buy her all the jade and gold in the world, a younger cousin who thinks she’s had a hundred boyfriends, and a grandfather who watches Hong Kong soaps with her.

Revenge of the Asian Woman is really about “it,” whether that “it” is the It girl, the It trend, or that ineffable feeling you have in “LA, 3 AM, the wind in your hair, down to your / breasts, braless under a low-v dress, / stroking the driver who’s your lover.” This collection presents plenty of longing for those fleeting moments, regardless if those moments are the speaker’s first sexual awakening in “Ode to the First Boy Who Made Me Feel It”;  the mother recounting her favorite childhood show about a family trying to reunite in “Triple Sonnet for Autoerotica”; or the nostalgia that’s presented with references to '80s teen films starring Andrew McCarthy, Liberace’s reign of Las Vegas, or “an appliance / that would deliver food from any part of the world—any part of the universe” from The Jetsons.

And with all this sex and food and longing, Revenge of the Asian Woman is above all, a fun romp. Let’s have a little Liberace-Las-Vegas-fun along the way with the glitz and glamour and kitsch of Japanese love hotels, B-movie starring Asian girls traveling to Mars, and total fantasy fulfillment as our dreams and nightmares come to life. The Asian woman conquers all, having her cake and eating it too—“Oh, cut that cake again.”

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