Hummingbirds & Wine / Diana Pinckney


Hummingbirds & Wine

poems by

Diana Pinckney

ISBN: 978-1-59948-922-3, ~40 pages, $12 (+ shipping)

Release Date: May 17, 2022

The Advance Sale Discount price for this title has expired. For those who prefer to pay by check, the price is $16/book (which includes shipping) and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001. 

PLEASE NOTE: Ordering in advance of the release date entitles the buyer to a discount. It does not mean the book will ship before the date posted above and the price only applies to copies ordered through the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.

Diana Pinckney’s work has appeared in Emrys Journal, Green Mountains Review, Still Point Arts Quarterly, Arroyo, RHINO, San Petro River Review, Pedestal Magazine, Palette Poetry, Kakalak, Connotation Press, Evening Street Press, Streetlight Magazine and others, both print and online. Author of 6 collections of poetry, including Alchemy, The Beast and The Innocent (2015). Pinckney is the winner of The 2010 EKPHRASIS Prize, Atlanta Review’s 2012 International Poetry Prize and Press 53’s 2018 Prime Number Poetry Award.

Hummingbirds and Wine is heart-breaking, and it is triumphant. Beginning with the palpable grief that follows the untimely death of an adult child, it moves from wrenching pain, heartache, and darkness to the return of breath and hope and certainty that those we lose will always be with us. A deeply personal expression of the abiding love that never ends, these poems remind us of our human frailty and our human capacity to endure. ~Barbara Presnell, author of Piece Work and Blue Star


“…in a dream she teased,
I didn’t die, Mom. Still here.”

Even if we didn’t know Elizabeth, we discover her as she comes to life in the well-honed craft of Diana Pinckney’s unflinchingly honest descent into grief and reminiscence. These poems break your heart and lift you up. How to go on after unfathomable loss? This profoundly moving mother’s love for her daughter gift us that path. ~Larry Sorkin


Hummingbirds and Wine, Diana Pinckney’s newest book, astounds me with expert sonic architecture, unforgettable lines, and powerful, deep images. These poems written in memory of her daughter devastate me even as they sing about the resilience of the human spirit and the persistence of love. A few lines from “Late Winter Pelicans” perfectly illustrate Pinckney’s inimitable gifts as a poet: “When memory fails,/I needn’t grieve. I’ll find her on the curve/of wings, in the salty air I breathe.”  ~Malaika King Albrecht


Beach Walker


I can still see her stretching in the hazy sun
each morning, strolling the surf, breathing salt

and the musky scent of creatures curled inside
shells—whelks, clams, conchs–once alive.

She so many miles from my city home.
So many Hey Mom’s when I’d lift the phone.

How is it that a heart so loved could weaken
through the days and weeks, and I never knew.

A heart that beat with the rhythm of the sea
and one bright morning would fail her and me.




~Hestia, Greek Goddess of the Hearth


After she died,
when asked how

I’m doing, I may
say I’m hestering,

meaning cleaning,
pushing, polishing,

and filling absence
by filling a machine

with clothes half clean,
clearing dust

hardly settled, just
as I can’t settle, can’t

rest the way she
rests, forever away

from chaos, the other
God of my days.



Super Cuts, Six Months after My Daughter’s Death


The stylist snip, snips my hair, shorter
and shorter. As she works, we talk.

You have children, she asks. Yes,
I answer. Do you? Oh, I have two girls.

How about you? Three, I say, my voice
tight, clipped as the gray strands covering

the floor. My daughter’s hair was long
and red, until it was blonde. She loved

the sun. A little less on the sides, please.
Why didn’t I say I have two children, sons,

and that would have been that. Except that
will never be that. I will always have three

children. Do they live here, she asks?
The sons do. My daughter lives nowhere

and everywhere. It’s good, she says, you
have a girl, too. Yes, I answer, it is good.

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