D M (Diana) Gordon has a life-long history of excellence, winning awards as a writer in three genres. She is generous with her multiple talents, helping others along the way to succeed. Diana is a gifted editor. She has the rare capacity to help writers move their work to higher levels of the art, and at the same time preserve their unique qualities of intention and voice. She has helped writers at Patchwork Farm retreats in Mexico, Guatemala and The Berkshires, as well as in Patchwork Journal, to develop their work with award-winning results. My own books, A Kind of Yellow, which won the Writer’s Digest First Prize, for best poetry book, and High Lonesome by Hedegerow Books/Levellers Press, benefited profoundly from Diana’s respectful, skillful and insightful reading. Under her graceful care, the poems became more of what they meant to be. And my feature journalistic piece on the sacred sites of Wales, published in Hampshire LIfe and the Los Angeles Times, earned most of its kudos due to her insightful edits. Any writer will be lucky indeed to enlist the help of this masterful editor.
PATRICIA LEE LEWIS, author of A Kind of Yellow and High Lonesome, poetry
I found Diana a pleasure to work with both personally and professionally. She took time to understand the goals of my writing and to provide feedback within that framework. A gifted editor with a writer’s ear for rhythm and pacing, her comments and suggestions were always incisive and pushed the manuscript in important directions. She helped me cut words and sections that cluttered the reading and gave me tips that I continue to apply to new writing. Most importantly, she couches criticism in instructive ways that make it easy to accept and is always willing to talk through a point to clarify it. I would work with Diana again and again.
KAREN ZILBERSTEIN, author of **Parents Under Pressure: Struggling to Raise Children in an Unequal America and co-author of Calming Stormy Feelings: A Child’s Introduction to Psychotherapy.
Diana’s edits and perceptions were right on the mark. It’s rare that I’ve found someone with whom I so consistently agree and trust, from the big picture down to language. She’s astute and has that rare ability to glean what a piece is trying to do and then tailor her edits accordingly. Thankfully, she’s not afraid of being proscriptive, especially when giving feedback about characters, and here again her recommendations were spot on. She’s got a excellent sense of pacing and structure. And, perhaps most importantly, she’s a pleasure to work with.
EVAN SHOPPER, author of the novel Osgood, as well as short fiction published in Glimmer Train, The Sun Magazine, The Massachusetts Review, The Indiana Review, The Colorado Review, and others.
Diana Gordon is truly the most talented and incisive editor I know. She’s one of those rare writers who is able to bring her unique, sometimes exacting creative vision to others’ work and has an uncanny knack for seeing just what’s needed to strengthen and tighten a piece. With my first novel, she helped me envision a path that I wouldn’t have been able to find on my own. After I implemented the revisions she and I discussed, my book sold within months.
DORI OSTERMILLER, author of Outside the Ordinary World, a novel
Thank you, Diana, for editing my long memoir with such love and intelligence! You are brilliant at noting the parts that ring true and those that don’t. And you have helped me immensely with structure. I have tried so many times to find the arc of my sprawling story, and you not only identified a compelling arc, but also offered it to me in the most accessible and useful ways, never insisting, always leaving the final decisions to me. Thank you for laboring with me until I found the will to cut and shape! As a long-time writer and editor for Our Bodies, Ourselves, I recognize your skill and am in awe of it.
WENDY SANFORD, author of In Our Family, We Don’t Like Changes, memoir; editor of Our Bodies, Our Selves
Diana Gordon brings careful, conscientious and analytical precision to her content editing of literary fiction. She offered valuable feedback on the plot, exposition, character development and pacing of my debut novel White Nights, Black Paradise. Throughout the editing process she was readily available for phone conversations and email feedback–enabling me to meet my deadline and production obligations in a timely fashion. I highly recommend her services for authors who are looking for astute, personalized, professional evaluation and editing of their work.
SIKIVU HUTCHINSON, author of White Nights, Black Paradise, a novel about The Peoples Temple & Jonestown Massacre
Back in summer 2006, I was facing my assessment at Trinity College for my Master of Philosophy in Creative Writing, a pile of fledgling poems, and a shrinking belief in my ability to make anything of them. Sitting in desperation before my laptop, I contacted Diana. Reader, I was saved! Nothing prepared me for the depth of Diana’s respect for my written words. I hadn’t experienced that before – or since. Each poem was individually parsed and analyzed and returned to me with suggested edits and a review of its meaning. I found my interest in my own writing rising from the depths. Diana taught me the wisdom of allowing a job to carve out its own time, how to respect my own work. I was just trying to get through a difficult situation as best I could; Diana taught me how to be a poet. I could never thank her enough and no fee could ever reflect the debt I owe her. Our collaboration reconnected me with the thrill of writing and, yes, rewriting, reshaping, re-editing. The creative urge was rekindled and I even wrote three poems over one weekend. This story has an even happier ending. My portfolio earned me a distinction. My name alone is on that portfolio. In truth, I share it with Diana.
THERESE CAHERTY, author of Interstice, Masters Dissertation, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, poetry
Diana didn’t just read my work, she was a companion to each poem and to what my manuscript was trying to say. From the inside of them, she made me see them better–so what needed to leave and what needed to stay was clearer. She made my book better, and then with more work, better again. Her intelligence is kind, her thoroughness is an incredible engine. Her honesty is made up of all the best things about rigor. It isn’t just her generous nature–how much she gives to each word, it is that she is truly invested in making it right.
ANNE LOVE WOODHUL, author of Night With Its Owl, poetry
I feel so fortunate that my manuscript received Diana’s editorial care. She has an eye for both macro and micro issues, from overall intention and meaning to the subtleties of word choice. I appreciated the ways in which she challenged me to trim, hone, and, in some cases, rethink or rewrite. At the same time, she respected and honored my own instincts and opinions as a writer. Working together was a great experience, and I know my book is better crafted thanks to Diana’s generous and sharp attention.
HANNAH FRIES, author of Little Terrarium, poetry
Diana provided prompt, incisive feedback during the early stages of a large writing project pushing me to find the most interesting pathways into my ideas. The work I did following our consultation was better for it.
HOLLY WREN SPAULDING. Lost Lexicon, a letterpress poetry installation
I first knew Diana Gordon as the author of one of the most delightful pieces of fiction I’ve ever read, and I went on to know and respect her dearly for her considerable skills as an editor. She has edited my flash fiction, short fiction, poetry, and novel manuscript. I know no writer or editor with the generosity, enthusiasm, or acuity she offers. As intimate with the flow of language on the level of the sentence (always knowing which words to cut and which concepts to expand), as she is with character’s voice and story’s arc, Diana helps writers not only to own their ideas and express them with skill, but also how to invite a reader into the writing, with a sense of mastery and play.
AMANDA LISLE, author of Rain Dogs, a novel
One thought on “Writers’ Comments”
As a first-time memoirist, I needed an editor to save me from some rookie mistakes. Diana did that, but she also had a great ear for the tone and voice of my writing. She identified where I was at my best and helped me raise the quality of the entire manuscript. She graciously pointed out my tics and gave me great advice on eliminating garbage language. Perhaps most important, she preserved and improved the aesthetic sensibility while reminding me of practical considerations. She knows the publishing world and I am grateful that I have her to shepherd me toward the completion of my project.