Here on the cusp of Fall, the last Sunflower bows to the Purple Heart, reminding me not to resist the season’s turning, but to welcome the energy of cooler days, blazing trees, and sharpened pencils.
This year, it brings a presidential election, too, so let’s all get out and vote!
Composer Elizabeth Alexander has set two of my poems to music. “The Meadow Doesn’t Know” and “Treesong” can be heard on her CD Nature Creature.
At the end of April, my tenure as Poet Laureate was wildly celebrated in Harlan, Ky, my home town, where many organizations came together to create a GeorgEllabration. With “Where I’m From” as its theme, the event featured poetry readings, an art exhibit, a choral serenade, a children’s play, many speakers—including Gurney Norman and my fourth grade (and favorite) teacher Marilyn Unthank—and a potluck supper. My thanks to everyone who put it on and to all who came to enjoy it.
The Kentucky Arts Council’s “Where I’m From” Project, which is collecting poems from Kentuckians of all ages and posting them, county by county, on their website, will be accepting poems until December 1st. We would love to have your voice!
My new collection, She Sings, is now making the rounds. Here's hoping the right editor sees it soon.
BOATS FLOAT! has gone into a second printing, and TRAINS RUN! is due to leave the station in Fall 2018. Both were written with my son Benn Lyon and illustrated by Mick Wiggins.
recently copied into my journal
“The word habit is too worn a word to express [the] passionate liaison of our bodies, which do not forget, with an unforgettable house."
--Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
Sometimes a photo captures the spirit of a person or a place. This one, taken at Hindman Settlement School’s Family Folk Week, does both for me, and so it invited a poem.
SHE LOOKS LIKE A DANCER
so slender, poised on the children’s swing
roped to a hickory’s high branch.
She lies back on the air, her white braid flying one way
as her whole self is paused at the peak of the arc,
ready to go
Find a photograph you’ve taken which stands out to you. Study it. Make notes on details. Close your eyes and allow the feelings the photo calls up to surface. Jot down whatever comes to you. Then turn your attention to what was happening when you took the photo. Where were you? What moved you to capture this image? Write it down. By now, you will have gathered a lot of material and freed yourself from the blank page. Reread and write!
May Fall bring you joy & new notebooks!
George Ella Lyon
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