Between the Silences

by Diane Buchanan

Between the Silences invites us to sit in the back row of Family and Youth Court, where important decisions are made everyday – decisions that can affect our children, our families, our friends, our neighbours, our communities. The fortunate among us will never be inside a courthouse. But Diane Buchanan takes us there with her poetry. Writing with the heart of a woman who is both nurse and mother, she uses poetry not to lull us but to wake us up. In a series of word snapshots and evocative portraits she creates a collage of images both thought-provoking and heartrending. Between the Silences reveals that strange and poignant world on the other side of the courthouse door.

SKU: 0973238089 Categories: ,

$15.95 CAD

Additional information

Weight .144 kg
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.5 × .25 in
Page Count



Soft Cover

Year Published


Diane Buchanan

Diane Buchanan is a poet and essayist who has lived in and around Edmonton, Alberta all her life. The last thirty years have been spent on a thoroughbred horse farm where she and her husband of forty-three years raised four daughters. She began to write after retiring from nursing and returning to University at the age of fifty. Her book of poetry, Unruly Angels, about the drug court in Edmonton, Alberta, was published in 2011.


More powerful than a camera or artist’s pencil could ever be in capturing what happens in a court of law.
~The Branch Line 7

Buchanan goes further than most of us would dare to tread into the courthouse and its stories, which are occasionally hopeful, many times tragic and ultimately human. She observes as though she has been a juror on many cases, seeing both sides and aiming to find the truth somewhere in the middle. She breaks down generalizations, giving us many points of view… And through her individualized narratives, she challenges the stereotypes, not only of young offenders, but of criminals and people in custody battles as well. This makes Between the Silences not only a beautiful book of poems, but an important one, too.
~Jocelyn Grossé, Fast Forward

This book works the way good courtroom drawings work…. [I]t nevertheless, renders with quick, deft strokes, the heart of the matter, and the accumulative effect of all this portraiture and careful observation serves, as the title so aptly indicates, how important it is to find the human element.
~Richard Stevenson, The Danforth Review

Between the Silences reminds us that fully-realized poetry not only takes us places we’ve never quite been, but changes us with its urgent presence. At first, Buchanan seems a courtroom artist sketching. Soon, however, she immerses us along with herself in the raw narrative of the court’s arbitration in the ruins of our private lives. The accumulative sense is a profound loss of home. The poet discovers there is “no common denominator.” The loss is everywhere. Buchanan’s skillful rendering of these poems, the respectful restraint with which they are written, and the heart by which they are inspired, are rare.
~ Betsy Warland

The courthouse poems are a gift to all of us.
~ Patrick Lane