Many-Storied House: Poems [pb]
By George Ella Lyon [Kentucky]
Born in the small, eastern Kentucky coal-mining town of Harlan, George Ella Lyon began her career with Mountain, a chapbook of poems. She has since published many more books in multiple genres and for readers of all ages, but poetry remains at the heart of her work. Many-Storied House is her fifth collection.
While teaching aspiring writers, Lyon asked her students to write a poem based on memories rooted in a house where they had lived. Working on the assignment herself, Lyon began a personal journey, writing many poems for each room. In this intimate book, she strives to answer lingering questions about herself and her family: "Here I stand, at the beginning," she writes in the opening lines of the volume, "with more questions than / answers."
Collectively, the poems tell the sixty-eight-year-long story of the house, beginning with its construction by Lyon's grandfather and culminating with the poet's memories of bidding farewell to it after her mother's death. Moving, provocative, and heartfelt, Lyon's poetic excavations evoke more than just stock and stone; they explore the nature of memory and relationships, as well as the innermost architecture of love, family, and community. A poignant memoir in poems, Many-Storied House is a personal and revealing addition to George Ella Lyon's body of work. 136 pages
"Captures with perfect grace the taut familial ties that can tether heart to heart or that can cut, in a flash, to the bone... Wisdom coupled with well-chosen words is the medium with which Lyon navigates her memories and translates them for her readers to inhabit too." -The Courier-Journal
"Taking Rainier Maria Rilke's advice, [Lyon] has learned to love the questions that have arisen about both her family and herself, exploring them on the page in this tender volume." -Appalachian Heritage
August 15, 2013