Diane Sahms had no idea that a poem she wrote in 1997 after her father’s passing would lead to a love of writing and six published books of poetry.
“I wrote Ode to a Fisherman and read it at my dad’s viewing,” she recalled. “It was like a dam burst open. It was cathartic.”
Sahms, of Lawndale, is poetry editor for North of Oxford Literary Journal. Her latest book of poetry is City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia), published last November and available at amazon.com.
Sahms, who has three children and an 8-month-old grandchild, has completed her seventh book, Blues, Prayers and Pagan Chants, and is looking for a publisher. She’s also working on an eighth book and has a smaller chapbook, Luna, the Lesser Light, which needs a publisher.
“A lot of good things right now are climaxing,” she said of her written word.
In addition, North of Oxford is curating an evening of featured poetry and open mic at Northeast Regional Library, 2228 Cottman Ave., on the second Wednesday of the month from 6 to 7:30 p.m., through June. After a hiatus in July and August, the gathering continues in September and October. The public is invited.
“People have been interested in reading for us at the library. We’ll probably continue it next year (in February) as well,” Sahms said.
Sahms is also open to a suggestion by librarian Titus Moolathara to bring poetry workshops and readings to prisons.
Sahms – whose partner, g emil reutter, is a contributing editor at North of Oxford – was a government employee in the 1980s when she began having a family, then went back to school for four years to earn her teaching certification. She was an English teacher at Cheltenham, Council Rock North and Council Rock South for a few years.
Then, in 2008, she decided to focus more on poetry.
“When you’re teaching, you have very little time to write poetry,” she said.
Sahms spends her early weekdays – 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – working as a purchasing agent for the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support on Robbins Avenue. She buys medical supplies for ships around the world, mostly for the Navy.
Off hours, her focus is on her love of poetry.
“It makes you go inside yourself,” she said of writing poetry. “I’ve made a lot of connections with other people. We help one another. It’s important to give back. When I’m writing poetry, I’m being as honest as I can. Poets reflect and are creative and take general themes and personalize them in our own way.”
For more information, visit http://www.dianesahms-guarnieri.com. ••
The next poetry and open mic night at Northeast Regional Library will take place on Wednesday, June 14, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The featured poets will be TS Hawkins and Emari DiGiorgio.