Poetry of place: where did you call home?

Can you picture the house or apartment where you grew up? The texture of the couch, the sound of water in the pipes? Did the windows rattle, and what did the doorknobs look like? Can you draw a map of each room?

So many sensory images come flooding back to me as I read George Ella Lyon’s poetry collection MANY-STORIED HOUSE. She focuses on family, on small moments, on tiny details of her childhood home. Her poems about memory, relationships, and sense of place are beautifully specific and universal at the same time. She’s inspiring me to write about my first home, a two-bedroom apartment in a fourth-floor walk-up on a one-way street in the Bronx. The closet doorknobs were made of glass; the rumble of the subway was our metronome.

Lyon writes for both children and adults, and I’m looking forward to learning from her in an online workshop hosted by poet Georgia Heard in January. You can read about it here. Maybe I’ll see you there!

On Fridays, I love taking part in Poetry Friday when I can, where writers share resources about children’s poetry. This week, Michelle Kogan hosts the Poetry Friday Roundup today at her blog. Check out the celebration of poetry there today!


  1. Linda Mitchell says:

    Oh, yes. The place I grew up remains with me in so many ways…in so many memories and dreams and habits. You lucky writer to spend time with Georgia Heard in January. I look forward to seeing what comes of your writing time.

  2. maryleehahn says:

    Thanks for the heads-up about the poetry session with Georgia Heard and George Ella Lyon (two of my poetry she-roes!) I’ll see you there!

    As for my childhood home, I remember it in VIVID detail. Both the house and the yard.

  3. Janet F. says:

    Oh Mary, I just drove by the house I grew up in first and then stayed at the one I grew up in as well, my sister is there now. I can picture it all and do a lot. i was blessed to have in general a very happy childhood. I tend to write about this often. The lessons from those who loved me so are rich and varied and not always in any way perfect, of course. But I consider myself lucky and try to honor them with my life in the best ways i can. Though that is not 100% a job well done, either. But I try to be forever grateful for the blessings I received and do my best to try to share them with others in a variety of ways. It’s a long story, of course. Thank you for this! I look forward to Georgia’s class and I want to read the book soon. Glad you will be there, too. PS I figured out where the comment section was this time!!! Yay, me.

    • Janet, I am so glad to see your comment! And I’m glad you will be in the Georgia Heard class with guest George Ella Lyon. I am so looking forward to it. I just looked her up on youtube and saw her speaking on an online writers conference, and it was lovely to hear her voice. We’re in for a treat in January!

  4. Laura Shovan says:

    Thanks for featuring this book, Mary. I have to read it! What an interesting project to focus on place in this way. (P.S. My dad also grew up in the Bronx!)

    • Laura! I love knowing that we have a Bronx connection. And I’m so happy to hear you will be teaching at VCFA. When I was there, it meant so much to be to work with a poet on the faculty (Julie Larios). I know you will add so much to the experience of the students!

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