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Many-storied house : poems
2013
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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. - (Johns Hopkins University Press)

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.

- (University of Kentucky)

Author Biography

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.

- (University of Kentucky)

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Table of Contents

Provenance 3(4)
Downstairs Entry
Door
7(1)
Bathroom
8(2)
Closet
10(1)
Passage
11(1)
Living Room
That Chair
12(2)
Art
14(1)
Visitor
15(1)
Dining Room
Money Laundering
16(2)
Oh, My
18(1)
Ritual
19(1)
Collector's Item
20(1)
Phone
21(1)
August 4, 1944
22(1)
Kitchen
Reveille
23(1)
Blood and Water
24(1)
The Radio
25(1)
Legacy
26(1)
Junk Drawer
27(1)
Vision
28(1)
Over Coffee
29(1)
Daddy's Last Christmas
30(1)
Kitchen Table
31(1)
Basement
What Won't Burn
32(1)
Bucket Brigade
33(2)
Garage
The Ham
35(1)
New Room
36(5)
Flood
It Got Us This Time
41(2)
No Light
43(1)
Worst Flood in Harlan County History
44(2)
Interim
46(1)
Threshold
47(4)
Upstairs Stairway Landing
51(1)
Library
On Those Shelves
52(1)
Interior Design
53(2)
Portrait
55(1)
Smithereens
56(2)
Memory Book
58(2)
It Was a Year
60(1)
This Is
61(1)
Shit
62(1)
[Untitled]
63(1)
Hall
By the Laundry Hamper
64(2)
Linen Closet
66(1)
My Room
Toy Chest
67(1)
Hiding
68(1)
Doll Mother
69(1)
Night of the Mysteries
70(3)
Brother's Room
Off Limits
73(1)
How It Smelled
74(1)
Sleepless
75(2)
Parents' Room
Arthritis, 1952
77(1)
The Photo of Granny Buby
78(2)
November 21, 1963
80(1)
Half
81(1)
With a Song in His Heart
82(2)
Bathroom
Sanctus
84(2)
Company
86(2)
Cliff
88(5)
Yard
D-Day
93(2)
Westward Ho
95(1)
At Play
96(3)
All of It
Postgraduate Work
99(1)
It Doesn't Matter
100(1)
In the ER
101(2)
On Her Side
103(2)
Final Play
105(1)
Labor
106(1)
Every Cupboard Bare, Every Head Bowed
107(2)
Thanksgiving Night
109(1)
The Day After
110(2)
I Can't Believe
112(2)
Welcome 114(3)
Acknowledgments 117(2)
Index of First Lines 119

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