Harriet Diann Blakely
1957 - 2014
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Harriet Diann Blakely

Brunswick, GA

Harriet Diann Blakely, age 57 of Brunswick, GA, passed away on August 5, 2014 after complications from a chronic lung disorder.

Diann was born on June 1, 1957 in Anniston, AL. She was an American poet, essayist, and editor. Graduating with a B.A. in Art History from the University of the South in 1979, she subsequently received an M.A. in Literature from Vanderbilt University in 1980 and an M.F.A. from Vermont College in 1989. She taught at Belmont University, Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, led workshops at two Vermont College residencies, and served as Senior Instructor and the first Poet-in-Residence at the Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, TN. A Robert Frost Fellow at Bread Loaf, she was a Dakin Williams Fellow at the Sewanee Writers' Conference, at which she had worked earlier as founding coordinator.

She is the author of three books: Hurricane Walk, Farewell, My Lovelies, and Cities of Flesh and the Dead. Her many recognitions include the Pushcart Prize (1994, 1995) and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award (1999). Blakely had an extensive knowledge of Southern Poetry and had spent three years writing on the subject in a compilation of essays titled Notes on the State of (Southern) Poetry. She was working on two new books entitled Rain in Our Door: Duets with Robert Johnson and Lost Addresses: New and Selected Poems at the time of her death. More information on Diann can be found on her website: diannblakely.com.

Diann is survived by her parents, Ann and Bob Blakely; her brother Bob Blakely (Betsy); and her beloved nephew, Trace, and nieces, Sarabeth and Emma Blakely, all of Mountain Brook, AL. She is also survived by many loving colleagues and friends.

The family will hold a private Memorial service to honor Diann on Monday, August 11, 2014.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Emmet O'Neal Library, 50 Oak Street, Mountain Brook, AL 35213.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Tennessean on Aug. 10, 2014.
Memories & Condolences
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13 entries
August 15, 2014
My deepest sympathy to your family. Our loving creator invites us to approach him in prayer, to pour out our heart to him. (Psalm 62:8) May he grant you guidance, strength and comfort during this time of sadness.
August 11, 2014
Diann was a wonderful poet and a dear friend. Her passion for connecting people was a great gift to us all. We met at Bread Loaf, saw each other over the years and kept up a conversation about poetry, especially the State of Southern Poetry. I'm ever grateful for the time I spent with her at Harpeth Hall.
Judith Baumel
August 11, 2014
I like the idea that the super moon of the past couple of nights was the universe's way of welcoming Diann Blakely to a higher realm of unfailing love and noble genius, a place where she is likely to fit very well. It shined with the same kind of luminous majesty that attracted so many to Diann's profound craftsmanship as a poet and to her inspiring grace as a human being. When another great poet, Maya Angelou, passed earlier this year, I noted how wise so many in the world had been to celebrate her while she was yet among us. Many can say the same in regard to Harriet Diann Blakely but possibly now, and in the months to come, many more shall reveal just how worthy she was, and is, of such celebration.

With love and sincere condolences to Diann's family,

Author-Poet Aberjhani
August 11, 2014
Diann loved poetry, and in particular Southern poetry and poets. I knew her to be a gifted and passionate poet as well as a patron to other artists and a teacher. She also felt a kinship with the people of New Orleans and blues singers. Diann did not want people in general to know how ill she was, and despite knowing, I was still stunned to learn of her passing. My condolences to her family and many friends.
Nordette Adams
August 11, 2014
My sympathy goes out to the family during your time of grief. May God's loving-kindness comfort you and help you through this difficult time. (Psalm 119:50,76)
August 11, 2014
I had the pleasure of working with Diann when she attended Vermont College long ago. Working with her was like working with a peer. She was engaged and immensely talented, and she will be missed.
Leslie Ullman
August 11, 2014
Those of us here at Vermont College who worked with and knew Diann will miss hearing from her and seeing her contributions and dedication to the world of poetry. Our deepest sympathies to her family.
Louise Crowley
August 11, 2014
Our last conversation was one that included a discussion of the poet e. e. cummings whose work we both enjoyed. A beautiful and talented lady whom we all will miss.
August 10, 2014
R.I.P., dear Diann. My most sincere sympathy to all family members. You will be missed.
Valerie Souza
August 10, 2014
Still in shock and saddened by the loss of Diann Blakely; she will be missed, and her work will live.
Mona Lisa Saloy
August 10, 2014
I had the privilege of working with her as her editor and publisher for Farewell, My Lovelies. Diann was always delightful to work with. She was vibrant, a talented poet and writer. Lucky for us that she spent some precious time among us.
Robert McDowell
August 10, 2014
She was a spirited and gifted woman who will be much missed by her wide community of poets and writers and friends. I was privileged to have had only a brief correspondence with her but it was great.
August 10, 2014
I'm crushed to learn of this loss--what a lovely, vibrant, and fiercely intelligent presence. I was honored to be a friend so long ago at Bread Loaf.
David H. Bain
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