Dina Hardy
     I have known Dina since she first came to a workshop at the Church in Ocean Park almost ten years ago. I know her to be intensely driven and inspired. Dina has studied with David St. John and attended the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Now she is a Stegner Fellow at Stanford. Her work has appeared in the Bellingham Review and the Black Warrior Review, among other publications.
    Dina’s poetic space is a quilt made of facts and observations intricately juxtaposed.  Under Dina’s supervision, The World Book encyclopedia—in these times of the iPad and iPhone already an anachronism—is not a dusty pile of pages on a junior high school library shelf; far from it. It lives and breathes with ironies and surprises. Studying her poems is like examining the intricacies of a moth’s wing under a magnifying glass. The more you look, the more you see there is.  She is not a Beat poet who lunges at you with her issues or chants or prayers or perplexities. Rather, the poems unfold before an attentive reader’s eyes like the images that we see appear gradually with the aid of chemicals in a darkroom. A careful look into the H volume of the encyclopedia yields splendid gyrations of thought and word play as the poet alights on/delights in seemingly simple yet charged items: home, homing pigeon, homily, hawk, homicide, Honduras, hominy, homonym. There’s method here: what Spain did to the New World, how it prayed and preyed here, is hinted at but without judgment and certainly without hysteria. Readers are left to quietly ponder, to come to their own conclusions. Dina does not sound like anyone else, and she is now in the process of quilting an ambitious new world book which I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot about in the years to come. 


Vol. H, Pg. 3500—from The World Book

On page three-five-hundred, a bird
with a dark pack strapped to its back,
not a pack, really, a tiny tube—
a candle, or dynamite without a fuse,
which is fascinating, this spark, this match-

less regression from today to the Ark.
News from the bird that measured the weather:
The water—high above the tree-tops, rising
like the future. No, that’s the past. Back, forth—
antediluvian to ageless. Why

does the desire to return home
burn more than a machine-gun bullet
to the breast, shrapnel in the leg? Home
is a prime number: e.g., seventy-one. One-
hundred-thousand-three homing pigeons

were used in World War I. The French
used pigeons, Cher Ami, the Germans
had hawks to catch the pigeons. This bird,
caught on this page, on a wooden perch,
motionless between homicide and Honduras.

Its beak points to hominy—
the pioneer families’ favorite dish.
Homo Sapiens (See: races of man). The speed
of progress: Pigeons to pagers, smoke-
signals to cell phones. A man

walks down the street, talks into his palm.
Psalms, the homily—a fashionable lesson:
When killing’s an accident, it’s right,
it’s justifiable. This string of thought winds
around the world, the suffocating winds

of the equator. Also homonyms: pray and prey.
The Spanish landed in Honduras, named it
Depths. Circled its shores, searched
for shallow waters to drop their anchor
in the New World, in this, their new home.

Originally published in Bellingham Review

2012 Dina Hardy
Dina Hardy was a Featured Poet who read her poetry at the May 2010 and August 2012 Second Sunday Poetry Series