With lyricism and grace, Amy Lemmon gives us a worldview to live by. The all-too-familiar “wear of sorrow’s rub” is presented alongside the world’s miracles, including the author’s two children. Through the disintegration of her marriage and the tragic death of her children’s father, she tells us, “We can believe something is always growing.” With a mix of wonder and trepidation, Lemmon chronicles the blossoming of a son and daughter, each exceptional in their own way, into ever more complex beings. She names other miracles as well: “This light,/wan blue sky and unforgiving sun,/the sound of crushing asphalt beneath/strong metal, the grinding of gears.” The broken world is made whole by the stately yet playful lines of these masterful poems, whether wrought in received forms like sonnet, sestina, and villanelle, invented/indented forms, riffs on famous forbears, or musically crafted free verse. Fearlessly bridging the gap between tradition and artistic innovation, the author moves us forward with her into the unknown, to entertain new relationships with herself, her children, and the world.
How did you first come up with the idea for this work?
The poems in this collection were inspired by my life as a single parent raising two teens, one with special needs, in NYC after the death of their father in 2010.
What was your research process like?
I had a sabbatical for the Spring 2016 semester during which many of the poems were drafted. I squeezed in time during breaks and various moments in the years following to complete and revise the poems and the overall collection.
What was the hardest thing about publishing this piece?
Finding the time to write the poems and work on organizing the collection in the midst of my busy full-time job and caregiving for my children. One semester was not enough to complete a collection, so I had to steal time in any way I could.
What did you learn?
I was reminded once again of the importance of revision to the writing process, something I share often with my students.
What are you proudest of?
The fact that I have been able to create a book of poems in the midst of many other demands on my time and energies. I am also delighted that the cover was designed by an FIT graduate, Graphic Design BFA Brandon Saloy.
Does this publication relate to your work or teaching at FIT? If so, how?
Creative writing and poetry are my main academic and pedagogical areas of expertise. I teach creative writing, poetry writing, and creativity studies classes and coordinate the English minor. Writing is directly related to my work at FIT mentoring student writers and colleagues who also teach them.
- Time to publication: 10 years
- Professor at FIT since 1996
- Teaches creative writing, poetry writing, and creativity studies classes; coordinates the English minor