George Ella Releases 'Many-Storied House: Poems'
While teaching aspiring writers, renown author George Ella Lyon asked her students to write a poem based on memories rooted in a house where they had lived. "Years ago," Lyon says, "I devised an exercise (reproduced below) that involves drawing the floor plan of a place you've lived, noting a memory in each room, and then zeroing in on whichever memory seems to call to you." Working on the assignment herself, Lyon began a personal journey, writing many poems for each room. The result is Many-Storied House: Poems, an intimate collection of verse which is her forty-fifth published book. In it, 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."
Born in the small, eastern Kentucky coal-mining town of Harlan, 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. Collectively, the poems tell the sixty-eight-year-long story of the house. As Lyon explains, "As she explains, "A family memoir in poems, Many-Storied House begins in 1941 with my grandfather building the house I grew up in and ends in 2009 with its sale after my 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 Houseis a personal and revealing addition to George Ella Lyon's body of work.
George Ella Lyon is the award-winning author of more than forty books, including Golden Kite Award winner Borrowed Children,Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year Catalpa, Aesop Prize winner "Which Side Are You On?" The Story of a Song, and Bank Street Best Books selection and ALA notable All the Water in the World. Her most recent books are She Let Herself Go: Poems and the young adult novel Holding on to Zoe. Her poem "Where I'm From" is featured in the PBS series The United States of Poetry and has become a model for teachers around the world. Connect with her online at www.georgeellalyon.com.