Durham, Diana 1954-

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DURHAM, Diana 1954-


Born November 4, 1954, in England; daughter of Richard (a customs and excise employee) and Nancy (a homemaker) Durham; married Jonathan Guilbert (a filmmaker), January, 1993; children: Raphael Isabel, Aidyn Jonathan Dante. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: University of London, B.A. (with honors), 1976. Hobbies and other interests: Energy work, gardening, drawing, music.


Home—Portsmouth, NH. Agent—Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, 59 W. 71st St., Ste. 96, New York, NY 10023. E-mail[email protected].


Poet and writer. Angels of Fire, member of poetry performance group appearing in London, England, and on tour of British cities, beginning 1989; Three Voices (women writers and poets), founder and performer; performance poet; workshop presenter; gives readings from her works; guest on media programs; also speaker on the topic of Arthurian and grail myths. Assistant producer of a television documentary.


International Association of Attunement Practitioners, Attunement Guild International, New Hampshire Writers Project.


Poetry prize, Northwoods Press, 2003, for To the End of the Night.


Fire Path (poetry chapbook), Diamond Press (London, England), 1989.

Sea of Glass (poetry), Diamond Press (London, England), 1990.

The Return of King Arthur: Finishing the Quest for Wholeness, Inner Strength, and Self-Knowledge Jeremy P. Tarcher (New York, NY), 2004.

To the End of the Night (poetry), Northwoods Press (Thomaston, ME), 2004.

Also author of dramatic monologues. Work represented in anthologies, including Earth Ascending; Portsmouth Unabridged, edited by Peter Randall; and First Annual Northwoods Anthology, Northwoods Press. Contributor of poetry to magazines in England and the United States, including Mankato Review and Orbis.


Diana Durham told CA: "The great poets and novelists were my source of inspiration as I grew up, because they seemed to be the only ones saying anything significant or looking at the deeper issues of the human condition. I was also in love with language and wanted to follow in their footsteps, so at the age of twelve I began writing poetry and short stories.

"My aim was to become a novelist, and I have written two novels, but I found myself caught up in the deeper stories of myth when I began work on my nonfiction book The Return of King Arthur: Finishing the Quest for Wholeness, Inner Strength and Self-Knowledge. In some ways, the ideas and insights which these stories opened up for me, both in terms of my own life and in the life of our modern-day world, seemed more compelling than anything I could insert into a web of fictional characters.

"I began to realize that the legends of King Arthur and the quest for the Grail were deeply true, not fantasy at all, and I wanted to convey what was to me the thrilling promise that they encoded of the power we have to change the future, to bring about renewal in our worlds.

"The Grail myth tells us that we have the ability to heal a fundamental wound and restore the wasteland. We tend to interpret this as going out and fighting the dragon, whichever one it happens to be—and there are a lot of dragons out there. That might be a part of what we do, but the problems we are looking at on a global scale, or closer into the worlds of our relationships at home and at work, have a subtle, systemic root, which is the malfunction of consciousness itself. Therefore, until this is addressed we will not be dealing with the root cause of other issues. As we do address the polarity of our own consciousness, we begin to configure the return of King Arthur, which is not the return of a lone hero to save us all but a collective return of many people whose lives are rooted in authentic identity.

"My love of language and the rigor of clarifying thought were inspired by the great heritage of English literature, past and present. Shakespeare, George Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf come to mind; and in the present day I love the works of A.S. Byatt and Lindsay Clarke. The nonfiction writers who I think are closest to what I did in The Return of King Arthur are Robert Johnson, Robert Bly, and Jay Ramsay.

"My advice to aspiring writers is to have something important to communicate first, as opposed to simply having the desire to write for self-expression. Then, of course, there is lots of rewriting. I also recommend hand-drafting first, before committing to computer, because the printed or screen version can fool one into thinking the writing is more complete than it is.

"My writing process is a mixture of spinning ideas together, noticing pattern and connection, and letting a theme or 'spine' show itself. This is followed by hand-drafting one or two drafts before putting it onto the computer, then printing off the pages and reading them—fresh—the next day to find the places where the thought has made a jump without explaining itself, or where the meaning is still implicit and has not yet been made explicit enough for the reader. Also (especially if I'm writing a poem), to find where the voice is not quite true, but has taken a side turn into sentimentality or drama or an old mode. The language will tend to follow this false note in the voice, and I have to almost break it up, like breaking up lumps in a pancake mixture, to make it consistent with the voice of the whole piece and of the original impetus.

"The most surprising thing I have learned as a writer is that the writing process itself is generative, i.e., it reveals new aspects of thought and insight which thinking or speaking alone do not. Also, how honest it requires you to be. I would like my books to excite readers at a very deep level, to resonate with something fundamental and large inside the reader so that this part of them becomes more alive, more self-aware."



Library Journal, April 15, 2004, Lucille M. Boone, review of The Return of King Arthur: Finishing the Quest for Wholeness, Inner Strength, and Self-Knowledge, p. 105.

Publishers Weekly, February 2, 2004, review of The Return of King Arthur, p. 69.


Diana Durham Home Page,http://www.dianadurham.net (November 23, 2005).

Return of King Arthur: Finishing the Quest for Wholeness, Inner Strength and Self-Knowledge,http://www.kingarthursreturn.com (November 23, 2005).