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About George Ella Lyon
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In George Ella Lyon's new collection of poems, Back to the Light, the poet traces the course of a woman's life from girlhood, with its breakages and consequent denials of voice and story, to recovery of those powers and mature feminine wisdom. The purpose of the book is described within the pages between the title and the introductory poem: a young girl's need for the speaker's reassurance. In turn, the collection serves as a map to guide her -- and us.
Faced with the story of this female character and the denial of that same story by the world around her, the speaker turns to the Great Mother -- rather than the personal mother -- to reach new depths normally left in the shadows, beneath the surface. In doing so, the speaker reaches beyond the personal to the transpersonal. It is this transition that begins the healing process and helps the audience -- and the young girl -- situate the single story within the larger human story while forcefully reminding us that we are not alone as we make our way through the difficult passages of life.
Accessible yet bracing, George Ella Lyon's Back to the Light stands to serve as yet another example of the Kentucky poet's ability to speak to her readers at the intersection of that which is both innately personal and politically powerful. This collection will be another excellent addition to the Press' poetry list.
Loretta, Sonny's older sister, spies by eavesdropping. As she tells him, "How else am I going to survive in a family tight-lipped as tombs?"
But the kids' spying only scratches the surface of what's really going on in this 1950s family in the deep South. While Deaton, the youngest, worries about pirates and vampires, and Uncle Marty, family protector, serves up scripture with every bite at the Circle of Life donut shop, somebody is watching.
Somebody unsuspected by Sonny. But at thirteen he knows something's fishy, and he intends to find out what. That's why one Friday after Uncle Marty pays him for dishwashing at the Circle of Life, he sneaks out of town, first by bike and then by bus. Selma, his mama; Mamby; Nissa; Uncle Sink; Aunt Roo; his sister and brother -- nobody from that all-too-serious but often hilarious crew has a clue where he's gone. And even Sonny can't say exactly what he's after, until those tight-lipped tombs start talking, and life in the house on Rhubarb changes for good.