Books

"Crushed by his ideals the wounded monk contemplates the meaning of summer." This line, central to Ryan's long poem, A Wounded Monk, captures the essence of this short but powerful collection. In A Wounded Monk Diaz explores the nature of meaning and becoming, using the story of an idealistic acolyte to explore his own complex relationship to spirituality and faith. This, alongside the collection's subsequent poems, forms a distinct portrait of the poet's own interior life and in turn invites the reader to consider their own place in the complex network of relationships we call existence.

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Inspired by Haiku and other forms of short poetry, Like Falling Leaves, is a love letter to the brief and the beautiful. In twenty-four short poems, Ryan takes the reader through the awesome and ordinary, ruminating on everyday experience, religious discovery, and the fraught relationship between humanity and the natural world. While easily read in a single sitting, this collection is meant to be read slowly, a satisfying read for those longing to slow down in a world that only knows the demands of speed.

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In Skipping Stones, Ryan writes about many things, long-dead saints, personal tragedy, everyday observations, and the nature of prayer. But what connects this collection is Ryan’s desire for a transcendent experience. His vivid and story-driven poems create a secondary world for the reader to explore, worlds in which belief is possible and the divine looms large. For Ryan, “the Christian poet, and storyteller as well, is like the blind man whom Christ touched,” and poetry “an invitation to deeper and stranger visions.”

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We all yearn for home, a place to call our own, put up our weary feet and bask in the glow of belonging. Diaz's first collection is a warm hearth for the weary. His poetry gives one the sense that they are not alone and that home is just around the corner. In this book of poems, Diaz considers the divine embedded within reality and takes the reader through personal loss, theological reflection, and the seemingly mundane. Each poem balances faith and doubt, joy and sorrow, and leaves one with a sense that the world is far more fantastical than we give it credit. Diaz's poetic output is diverse and varied, written in poignant free verse, lyric, and ballad poetry. For Those Wandering Along the Way invites us to take up a sacramental vision of the world and, in turn, helps us long for our true home.

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