Lahna Diskin was a born poet. We discovered Edna St. Vincent Millay together when we were girls and sang her songs aloud throughout high school and college years. We knew her poems by heart. I think Edna has found her equal in Lahna's lyricism, intelligence, craft and soul. A lifelong friend to poetry, and teaching, Lahna shares her gifts now here with us.
Lahna Diskin was born and grew up in Trenton, New.Jersy. She has lived for many years in southeastern Pennsylvania. She holds degress from New Jersey State Teachers College at Trenton (now The College of New Jersey), Middlebury College, and the University of Michigan. She taught English for over forty years in public school but principally at her first alma mater where she was chair of the English Department and later associate dean of arts and sciences. As professor of English she specialized in teacher education, modern poetry and fiction. She has made a special study of the work of W. S. Merwin, Italo Calvino, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ursula K. LeGuin and Theodore Sturgeon. She has long been a practicing poet with poems published in Graham House Review, Pulpsmith, The Third Wind, Santa Barbara Review, Academic Medicine (perhaps strangely enough) and elsewhere. She loves classical music and surealism in art and literature. She is also an avid collector of antique porcelain and glass. Since her retirement from teaching in 1999, she has dabbled in jewlery making.
Lahna: When we were young and rosy-eyed, we loved Edna for her lyricism and romantic take on love and the world. We loved that she flaunted convention and the college administration when she danced naked in Vassar's fountain and was expelled. We loved that she hung out in Greenwich Village with other artists. Truth is she was a wretched human being -- drug addict, alcoholic, jealous, and mean-spirited. She went public about her disdain for Elinor Wylie, the poet and woman (Wylie committed suicide). But I think Wylie was Millay's equal as a poet. Anyway, All these many years later, I think I can separate Millay the woman from her verse. Just as I separate myself from Picasso the womanizer to extol his art and Wagner, full of meanness and anti-Semitism, from much (not all) of his majestic music. I have a harder time making that separation with Ezra Pound maybe because I don't like his poetry all that much.