Diane Comer


The Braided River
Migration and the Personal Essay

Otago University Press
ISBN 978-1-98-853153-3

"A migrant lives in the space between the self and other. The personal essay expresses this sense of location—and dislocation—the way no other genre does." The Braided River: Migration and the Personal Essay explores contemporary migration to New Zealand through an examination of 200 personal essays written by 37 migrants from 20 different countries, spanning all ages and life stages. The first book to examine migration through the lens of the personal essay, The Braided River presents migration as a lifelong experience that affects everything from language, home, work, family and friendship to finances, citizenship and social benefits. Like migrants themselves, The Braided River crosses boundaries, working at the intersections of literature, history, philosophy and sociology to discuss questions of identity and belonging. ... See further information and book launch dates in Wellington & Christchurch

other publications

My Favorite Boot

Personal essay in North American Review 308.3 (Fall 2023)  ISSN 00292397/EISSN 23291907

Son, Sword, Chocolate

Personal essay in Landfall 242 (Spring 2021)  ISBN 9781990048111

Under Clearer, Brighter Stars

Personal essay in Thom Conroy’s (ed.) home: new writing (Massey University Press, ISBN 978-0-9941407-5-3, Oct 2017, pages 173-188)

Changed, Changed Utterly

Book review of Kathleen Gallagher’s Earthquakes & Butterflies in New Zealand Books: A Quarterly Review (10 June 2016)

Writing Between Two Shores

Revised paper from the 2014 AAWP conference published in Minding the Gap: Writing Across Thresholds and Fault Lines (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015)

Her Day’s Work  &  Grandma’s House

Snake Nation Review 24, 2011

On Not Going Home

Under the Sun 24(1), 2008

Crepe de Chine

Clackamas Literary Review XII, 200824(1), 2008

The Traveling Daughter

Ninth Letter Fall/Winter (4.2), 2007

The Invisible Distance

The Louisville Review 61, 2007. Selected as a ‘Notable Essay’ in The Best American Essays 2008 (Ed. Adam Gopnik, ISBN 0618983228)

Solved By Walking, In This Parting  &  The Pearls

Snake Nation Review 22, 2007

Family Geometry

Selected for republication by the editors for Five Years of Fourth Genre, Michigan State University Press (IBSN 087013776X), 2006

The Far Gaze

Cimarron Review 157, 2006

The Tribe of the Solitaries

Puerto del Sol 41(2), 2006


Gulf Coast Winter/Spring, 2006

The Ore of Longing

AGNI 62, 2005

Lemongrass to the Plains

Quarterly West 2005

In the Drawer of Sharp Things

The North American Review 290(1), January/February 2005 — selected as a ‘Notable Essay’ in The Best American Essays 2006 (Eds. Robert Atwan & Lauren Slater, ISBN 0618705295)

In Her Wake

The Georgia Review 58(3), Fall 2004


Many Mountains Moving 6(2), October 2004

Meditation in L

jubilat 8, 2004 — also selected as the Poetry Daily feature for Sept. 16, 2004

Meditation in I

The Gettysburg Review 17(2), Summer 2004 — selected as a ‘Notable Essay’ in The Best American Essays 2005 (Ed. Susan Orlean, IBSN 0618357130)


With Jennifor Sinor, Blue Scarab Press chapbook, Idaho, USA, 2004

Family Geometry

Fourth Genre 5(1), Spring 2003 — Project Muse link


Puerto del Sol 33(1), Spring 1998

After Plato

The Cream City Review 21(2), Summer 1997

Seeing Alex

The Sonora Review Spring/Summer 1997 — selected as a ‘Notable Essay’ in The Best American Essays 1998 (Ed. Cynthia Ozick, IBSN 0395860520).


15th Anniversary Anthology of Iowa Woman Autumn, 1995 — when initially published, selected as a ‘Notable Essay’ in The Best American Essays 1990 (Ed. Justin Kaplan, ISBN 0899199372).

The Third Turn

The North Dakota Quarterly 59(3), Summer 1991

Prairie VillageDriving Across the High Mesa

The Iowa Review, 20(1), Winter 1990


River Styx 31, 1990

Scarlet Liturgies: The Poetry of Olga Broumas

The North Dakota Quarterly 55(4), Fall 1987

Contact Diane

phone 022 510 2910 in New Zealand
phone +64 225 102 910 for international calls