Diane Vogel Ferri is a teacher, poet and writer. Her essays have been published in Scene Magazine, Cleveland Christmas Memories, Raven’s Perch, and by Cleveland State University among others. Her poems can be found in numerous journals. Her chapbook, Liquid Rubies, was published by Pudding House. The Volume of Our Incongruity was published by Finishing Line Press. Diane’s essay, “I Will Sing for You” was featured at the Cleveland Humanities Fest in 2018. Her novel, The Desire Path can be found on Amazon. She is a graduate of Kent State University and holds an M.Ed from Cleveland State University.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Day for Quotes

We are reformers in spring and summer; in autumn and winter we stand by the old - reformers in the morning, conservatives at night. Reform is affirmative, conservatism is negative; conservatism goes for comfort, reform for truth.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

It is good to rub and polish your mind against that of others.
Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)

Truth shines the brighter clad in verse.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lake Erie

A last summer day on the shores of Lake Erie. Cleveland always gets a bad rap - but look what we have so close to home.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Borrowed Poem

Things will be busy the next couple of weeks as school (and work) begins again for me. Please bear with me if posts are elusive for a little while. Meanwhile I am borrowing a poem to share written by my friend and Cleveland Heights poet laureate Gail Ghetia Bellamy. This is one of my favorites:
Tall Kitchens
by Gail Ghetia Bellamy

In my first marriage
we moved a lot
and I struggled
in tall kitchens
where other women
had hung their tea cups
and stored their grandmothers'
turkey platters
I tried to
hit all the hooks
reach all the shelves
and make fresh-baked pies
with good apple smells
that would waft from
to backyards
so none of the neighbors
would notice
how short I fell.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good Books

I'm starting to wonder if some of the stay-up-at-night books I've been looking for have been hiding in the young adults section. Sometimes I think that I've read so many novels that I am just cynical and burned-out from them. I've read so many awful books this year, all the while wondering how the heck they got published in the first place! But finally, I read one that I did indeed want to stay up after bedtime and not put down and it is classified as a young adult book. It is called "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. I seem to enjoy good writing more than anything these days and this one was creative, quirky, not sappy, touching and written like one 550 page poem. Loved it! The narrator is Death and it is set in Nazi Germany. Here's a sample of the narrator's poetry:
When their bodies had finished scouring for gaps in the door, their souls rose up. When their fingernails had scratched the wood and in some cases were nailed into it by the sheer force of desperation, their spirits came towards me, into my arms and we climbed out of those shower facilities, onto the roof and up, into eternity's certain breadth.
The book is about a little girl named Liesel (love that name) who wants to learn to read and the priceless gift that books can bring when they are rare and desired. Something we take for granted now.

Another beautifully written book is "Olive Kitteridge" by Elizabeth Strout. It is a collection of linked stories and the writing drew me in and made me want to be a better writer. Novels are often for enjoyment and escape, but they also take hours of our time to read. I like to know that my time is well-spent. These two books were well worth my time. Have you read anything good lately?

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Room Full of Books

I am in the center
of a circumference of books,
and it occurs to me that
in all my living spaces I have
evolved a room such as this.

Like a literary brick layer,
book by book, shelf by shelf,
a small city of manuscripts grows.
They are life-long denizens,
ever-present, standing ingloriously

like straight-stemmed
multicolored Easter lilies
with silent trumpet mouths
waiting to be opened, to teach,
to comfort, to be re-read after

their long involuntary rest.
I dust and lovingly polish their spines.
I rearrange them in my personal hierarchies.
I lionize their centrality in my life
and acknowledge

that nothing electronic
can ever replace
the invitation to come in
when I stand in the doorway
of my room full of books.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Poetry on the Dance Floor

His songs have been on shuffle
in my head since the end of June,
haunting, pulling, I see
visual bodily poetry
images not to be seen again.

Painting by Diane

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cleveland Museum of Art

These are photos from the newly opened wing of the Cleveland Museum of Art - spectacular! This is glass room facing out into an area of University Circle that is full of Rodin's scuptures. In the background of the second photo you can see a little of the Case Weatherhead building which looks like shiny twisted aluminum. This is a world-class museum. The renovations are stunning and will be completed in 2012, but worth seeing now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Moveable Feast

I haven't read much Hemingway since high school but I am reading a new edition of "A Moveable Feast". Published posthumously in 1964, the book is a collection of his personal memoirs of writing in Paris in the 1920's. It gives you a clear portrait of Paris at that time and of some notable writers that Hemingway encountered there such as F.Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein. This edition is supposed to include his complete papers and intentions for the book, not the edited version that his wife Mary published after his death.

Here are some a my favorite sentences from the book. Such pure writing:

Do not worry. you have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.

I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing; but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.

But you knew there would always be spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.
In those days, though, the spring always came finally; but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.

We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Food Answers

The first photo is of creamed beet soup with arctic char served with pinot gris. The second photo is indeed strawberry shortcake served with cabernet franc ice wine. Third is beef loin in ice wine in a blue cheese crust served over corn and fingerling potato fricasse served with cabernet sauvignon. The last is a divers scallop wrapped in proscuitto over a bed of spinach served with chardonnay. There were four more courses but I'm not going to keep asking my patient husband to repeat the details again! (I'm not a foodie, but it was all good.)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Take a Guess!

My husband makes wine, so he had a deep yearning to take part in a winery dinner experience. While in Niagra-on-the-Lake we had an 8 course dinner at Peller Winery and they served a different wine to compliment each course (Not a whole glass though!!!) You left your dinner in the hands of the chef so you didn't know what you would be eating. If they hadn't told me I wouldn't have know what I was eating even after I saw it! It was a three hour culinary extravaganza - we enjoyed every minute. Can you guess what these courses are? I'll tell you later.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Quote for a Wednesday

"If you are mesmerized by televised stupidity and don't get to hear or read stories about your world, you can be fooled into thinking that the world isn't a miracle, and it is."
Anne Lamott

Monday, August 3, 2009


There is a moment
between waking and sleeping

when I know something unknowable,
when I experience something with no name,

no language to describe it,
an invention not yet invented.

A thought outside my brain
beyond intelligence, beyond human comprehension.

Is it God? Is it the power of the subconscious?
Or is it what I knew before

the waters of the womb spit me out
into the light and chaos of the world?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

COEXIST XXV - Sexual Orientation

These are excerpts from the opinion page of today's Cleveland Plain Dealer:
It begins -After a summer of often dysfunctional budgeteering in Ohio, it's welcome news that state legislative leaders are focused on doing something this fall that should engage the best of both sides of the aisle; an overdue law banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in Ohio.
It goes on - Such discrimination is already illegal in the Ohio Houe and Ohio Senate...both prohibit bias based on sexual orientation. It's time to extend that prohibition throughout the state, as 21 other states have done. Many Ohioans will be shocked to learn it's perfectly legal in most places in Ohio to fire someone based simply on his or her sexual orientation.
It ends - Ohio civil rights statutes make it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age or ancestry. It is time to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list.