Echolocations (Winner of the 13th Annual Nicholas Roerich Prize for Poetry)

Echolocations was chosen for ForeWord magazine's Book of the Year Award (Poetry, 2nd Place).  The award was presented on June 2, 2001 at BookExpo America in Chicago, IL.


Skill at distancing - moving from a simple, involved moment to a wry, repositioned overview, thereby allowing the emotional experience to endure in the language and to be available to every reader - is evident throughout the book...
American tradition lives. And it throbs and pulses in the final poem, "Echolocations," based on conceiving a whale skeleton on a beach as a house into another world, a vehicle along the whale's way itself, the instrument of the sea's singing and of singing to the sea...(read more)


— F.D. Reeve, Poetry magazine (Vol. CLXVIII, No. 3, June 2001)

Diane Thiel is the real thing---a genuinely memorable lyric poet whose intuitive music strikes the difficult balance between the mythic and the real, the personal and the historical, the familiar and the unknown.

    Dana Gioia

Diane Thiel's understated extremities of dislocation, family ruin, and the shale which enunciates fresh space for the reader have a resonant depth.

— Michael S. Harper

Like fossils from a dig, tremors from a distant earthquake, or those fragments of ancient pots most of us would not recognize for their value even if we stumbled over them, Thiel’s poems shimmer with a mix of the minute and the aeonian.  From the lizard she encounters each day “At the Mailbox” to the “massive skeleton” of the whale in “Echolocations” whose “ribcage framed the sea, the sky, the trees,” hers is a poetry of psychic and cultural artifacts culled from the tiny and the immense, the interior and the distant.  Yet when she holds these things up for us to see, they sparkle.


—John Gery, Louisiana Literature


Considerable ability and promise of good things to come… (read more)


—R.S. Gwynn, The Hudson Review


Thiel disperses the silence of those who were the oppressors and takes responsibility for the wrongs into the present. Miraculously, the poems do not plunge into utter despair. In fact, it is the re-hearing which brings redemption...
Recommended for general collections.


— Ann K. Van Buren, Library Journal


Just as whales echolocate to navigate their way around objects, Diane Thiel uses her poetic voice to echolocate through the various landscapes of myth, consciousness, and the physical world. Folded into the layers of landscape are aural echoes of meter and rhyme that guide Thiel's poems through the hollows of loss, the search for lineage and love, and the personal and societal ruins of war. Echolocations draws together highly charged, evocative poems that have made this first collection an award-winning book.


— Story Line Press