Dimming Radiance

by Dan Stryk


Dimming Radiance may be purchased from your favorite bookstore, from on-line vendors such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or from the publisher.
Dimming Radiance
ISBN 978-1-893239-66-1
149 pages.   $15.00.

Acuity --- both verbal and visual --- characterizes this new collection of Dan Stryk's writing. What I so admire in Dimming Radiance is the life lived -- and then lived again through the medium of language. William Stafford's lines from "Bi-Focal" apply here: "So the world happens twice --- / once what we see it as; / second it legends itself / deep, the way it is." Stryk is always attentive to the nuances of day-to-day experience, whether taking walks with his wife, observing myriad aspects of the natural world, or teaching a young friend how to fold a paper airplane ("'The last thing then --- I'm telling Sam --- 'you press the nose real sharp. Don't fly 'em blunt.'"). This Zen of living fully in the moment and sensing kinship with all things, large or small, permeates this collection because it is truly Stryk's unassuming and humble way of living. These writings grow naturally out of a life lived keenly with respect for all.
  --- Jeff Daniel Marion
This collection of Dan Stryk's evocative poetry is more brimming than dimming radiance. Reflective, it blows away the chaff of life, seeking always the essential, heft and substance. In its search the poetry turns toward purity --- rivers, snow, the courtship of damselflies, a perfect robin's egg --- passing all through "the narrows / of my flutelike skull." In Stryk's world, even the most insignificant becomes ethereal, as in the tentworm left "to munch on in rapt fervor over pondglow and bronze lilyheads." The book reads like a holy text, simple yet transcendental, demanding yet merciful, common yet sublime.
  --- Janisse Ray, author of
Ecology of a Cracker Childhood

The seeming incongruity of writing forms in this collection -- from Western prose parables to the Japanese tanka, and a myriad of lyric forms in between --- may at first seem disconcerting to the reader.  However, one soon begins to see that this is the way the world should be --- vastly different thought brought together in a spirit of unity.  What could be more American?  What could be more in accordance with the Eastern concepts of Universality?    
  --- Charlie G. Hughes, publisher
From the Book ---

                     Morning Bath
               Each time new hope.
                  A drowning of the last day's
                   lethargy & gaffs.
                                         The body
               glows like a pebble,
                odors of day-scurry gone,
                   the hair lies flat
               & calm.  We rub ourselves
                to start again.
Crows in Grey Mist

                               after Saiyo

     Today, grey rain-scent like a skin in air, mist a lucent cape, Im winding through the highest Appalachian peaks, small engine torqued, toward the North Carolina coast. The mountains rise and fade in visual motion from all distances. Distances pierced suddenly by pines on rocky crags --- that vaguely conjure up a vision, forming now in sumi haze, from somewhere in a distant place Id loved, but long forgotten.
     Now rekindling in mist, I watch those faded billows of soft ink again pierced by keen scythes of raven-black that swept through the damp breezes of the papers grain. Then once more, like clear-grasped dream, Saiyos painting, "Crows in Grey Mist," looms before my eyes. I remember how for years after Id left Japan, it haunted me. . . The way the birds in flight and perched --- both in and out of misty clouds that might have been the sky or mind, no other forms, the thought of an original world --- were visible, near visible, and not. And like the strange moist flux of distances between these hills, I saw those best.
     And now --- my engine softening its roar on downslope in the valley toward Boone --- I think of how were drawn so deeply to the momentary. Inks pooled rich, or soft, or too thin to observe, but felt, in flux of clarity and haze, like sudden flight. Things that we cant own, or love, too long . . .