Graceful, lilting sisters softening this
harsh desert no human invaders built,

these sedges the only mosques in sight,
their prostrate rhizomes kissing the ground,
their flowers in dense heads or glumes
the only gold domes to dominate this airy space.

— “Sedges” (Heaven Underfoot, Codhill Press, 2023)

Book cover of HOLY SPARKS by Dr. Diana Woodcock features an sea turtle breaking the surface of the ocean.

© 2024 Diana Woodcock, Ph.D.

Holy Sparks

2020 Paraclete Press Poetry Award Finalist

Holy Sparks is a collection of poems grounded in a belief in the kinship between the cosmos and its Creator. Biophilic imagery is used throughout the poems to suggest that reverence for the earth is a natural consequence of reverence for God. The language of poetry is used to interconnect the human, natural and sacred, and to express humanity’s moral and ethical responsibility to our nonhuman kin. These poems question what it means for humans to live in right relationship with earth’s lifesystems, and they suggest that our very identity is tied to our reverence for the natural world. They offer a space of confession, reparation and praise of what remains. Holy Sparks is a call to partake of Earth’s wisdom so that we might participate in the Creator’s ongoing work.


"Orbiting our attention from Collared doves to the prophet Mohammad, and from communion wafers to Crab-plovers, Woodcock writes with a fiercely probing grace that affirms the genuine connections between the ecological and the spiritual. While asking often unanswerable questions, this collections shifts between the lightness of being and the 'still point of darkness' with precision and patience. This book is a deeply necessary addition to the ecopoetic landscape."

—Katy Abrams, Editor, Cold Mountain Review

"Whatever underlies humanity’s unique responsibility for creation—and we might be nuanced about that—the world is replete with wonders to behold and to protect, as we see in Diane Woodcock’s markedly detailed eco-encompassing collection Holy Sparks. At times cataclysmic, yet valiantly hopeful, the poems are an urgent call to revere our God-given, God-infused yet oft-ravaged world. In language that is both tender and terrifying, Woodcock compels us into contemplation, ever insisting on the value of less over more, stillness over motion, generosity over grasp. In the darkest hour of our over-indulgence, the poet reminds us, to 'make time and space / … / for mercy and grace.' And lastly, at the book’s closing, we read: 'This is about… /doing the noble / liberating thing when / the moment arrives.' For Woodcock, that long-overdue moment for self-emptying veneration has come; it is our cliff-hanging present."

—Sofia M. Starnes, author of The Consequence of Moonlight: Poems, and other works

"Nothing escapes exploitation in this world. No matter how much we speak up, it continues. In Holy Sparks, Woodcock draws our attention to the destruction. She points out, in the scope of things, why we are here. 'But I am torn, sworn / to do my part though my heart / is broken—all natural entities / suffering.' Isn’t it time we take the world back to what it once was? End these atrocities of nature and people? These poems are a powerful reminder of our changing world and what we are facing. Questions are asked, but the answers would require change. It is evident how important this book is."

—Gloria Mindock, Editor of Červená Barva Press, award-winning author of Ash

"These are poems that are luminous in seeing, and seeking, 'a miracle here,/ a miracle there,' refusing at the same time to look away from—or ignore—the shadowed violence that we, as a species, perpetrate toward the creatures who share this earthly home with us. They remind us, with a prophet’s fierce eye, that we belong to each other, that we hold our vulnerabilities in common since our fates are inextricably bound together. They also invite us, again and again, to 'keep all day before [us]/ the leitmotif of the unflinching/ faithful believer bowing to the infinite/ Maker and Keeper.' With this new collection, Diane Woodcock establishes herself as one of the voices our culture desperately needs—if we are to treasure the radiant if also fragile beauty that saturates this world, and measure what it might require of us to enter into living dialogue with all this. Only on this path of deep listening and attentive surrendering, she reminds us, will we find the courage to 'elude the deathly solitude,/ false images and disembodied/ of these times,/ instigating hope/ by writing the existent—/ my final act of resistance.' Despite the often gentle tone of these radiant poems, this is a manifesto calling us to live responsibly, and, while we do, learn to 'pray for a new day when we’ll all be worthy/ of being created free.'"

—Mark S. Burrows, poet and author, The Wandering Radiance: Selected Poems of Hilde Domin, and with Jon M. Sweeney, Meister Eckhart’s Book of Darkness and Light: Meditations on the Path of the Wayless Way

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Bibliographic Information

  • isbn 9781640606012
  • pages 128 pp.
  • format 5.5 x 8.5" paperback
  • publication date June 6, 2023
  • publisher Iron Pen/Paraclete Press