Campus News

George Ella Lyon Shines in Latest Release ‘Back to the Light’

"Back to the Light" cover artwork

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2021) — Acclaimed poet George Ella Lyon’s latest work, “Back to the Light,” is now available from the University Press of Kentucky.

The former Kentucky poet laureate’s brilliant new collection traces the arc of a woman's life from girlhood to mature womanhood. In answer to the first poem, "Little Girl Who Knows Too Much," Lyon embarks on a journey from a child who was silenced to "Some Big Loud Woman" who claims the right to a voice. Along the way she meets allies and guides including Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Mary Travers, Grace Paley, and the giver of dreams. Just as sailors once navigated by the stars, Lyon navigates by these luminaries. They are not distant, though. Their light is always near.

Alternately witty, tender, shocking and visionary, “Back to the Light” reveals the reunion of body and spirit, truth and story. In the process, it demonstrates the power of poetry to liberate and to heal.

Lyon is the award-winning author of more than 50 books for children and adults. Among her poetry collections are “Voices of Justice,” “Many-Storied House,” “She Let Herself Go,” “Voices from the March on Washington” (Cybils Award for Poetry) and “Catalpa” (Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year). 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. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

The University Press of Kentucky is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that includes all of the state universities, six private colleges and two historical societies. The press’s editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at the University of Kentucky, which provides financial support toward operating and publishing expenses.​

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.