What will Kentucky Book Festival visitors find on your table?
For Your Good Health, Drink Flowers: New and Collected Poems. This full-length collection includes poems written over four decades, exploring family, feminism, writing, nature, travel, and spirit. Poems are written in open and traditional forms, including pantoums, sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, ghazals, and haiku.
“Distilled from a lifetime of close observation, the poems in this capacious collection embrace stillness and motion, relationship and solitude, declaring the necessary sustenance in each.” –Leatha Kendrick
“Libby Falk Jones’ latest collection is a compendium of wonder.” –Richard Taylor
Yakety-Yak (Don’t Talk Back): Poems. Poems and prose pieces exploring growing up female in the deep South of the mid-twentieth century. Pieces are drawn from experience, memory, interviews, and other research. The various “field guides” offer rules for living, some of which still guide women today.
“Delightfully experimental, these poems deconstruct the very institutions they superficially support, creating a powerful examination of race, class, and gender.” –Julie Hensley
“Relax in the hands of this talented poet who renders a new landscape on each page, music in every line.” –Tina Parker
Coming of Age: Writing & Art by Kentucky Women Over 60, Vols. 1 & 2 (co-edited with Julianne Unsel). These anthologies include work by more than 60 Kentucky women in the Coming of Age program I co-direct. The program is partially funded by Kentucky Foundation for Women. Writings include poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, drama, essays, and collaborative pieces produced in workshops.
Balance of Five. Poems by five poets in Berea, KY. Foreword by bell hooks. This group of women writers worked together to give feedback on poems and to create an interesting, coherent collection organized around several themes, including family, motherhood, food, nature, and literature.
“At its core it is a collection that imaginatively celebrates many particularities of female experience while simultaneously displaying the range and depth of an imaginative vision that moves beyond the female body…. All the writers in Balance of Five call forth the divine in the everyday.” –bell hooks
Above the Eastern Treetops, Blue. A collection of poems exploring the concept and experience of abundance. Subjects include the desert, snow, labyrinths, light, birth, and art.
“More than a nature poet or a love poet, Libby Falk Jones is a co-creator of the human universe we inhabit word by word. Her poems spin ‘spirit threads’ that comfort, lift, and wholly amaze the reader.” –Marilyn Kallet
Whom do you invite to stop by? Who will benefit from reading your book?
Stop by if you love voices and stories, the ways words can help us understand and more fully inhabit our worlds. Writing a poem means being present, whether to a memory or a feeling or what lies at your feet. It means listening and watching, celebrating what is, what has been, what might be. I’m also really drawn to the joy of playing with language, to exploring the different kinds of music poems can make.
Since I teach as well as write poetry, I love talking with people about what they’re writing and how they approach it. I especially enjoy talking with young and beginning writers. Some of my poems have been published in calendars for young people.
Could you please tell us something curious about you and/or your book?
I’m fascinated by the ways that poems begin. Some of mine have begun with a line that’s come to me, carrying a rhythm I need to follow. Other poems are sparked by an image, a phrase, a memory. Some of the poems began as workshop exercises with Richard Taylor, Leatha Kendrick, Fred Smock, Sherry Chandler, Julie Hensley, Katerina Stoykova, and other distinguished Kentucky poets. Some have begun with form rather than content—in my recent book, the sestina, “Dark Winter,” began with my picking six separate resonant words. As I worked with those words and the pattern of their repeating, meaning began to emerge.
I’m a photographer as well as a writer, and I think my poems reflect my persistent desire to “see”—to be open and receptive to experience and ideas, and to explore these through images and words. Images of light often play a role in my poems.
Is this your first time participating in Kentucky Book Festival? If yes – what are you looking forward to the most? If you’ve participated before – what was your favorite experience at the Festival?
It’s my first time, and I’m excited! I love to connect with other readers and writers of all ages and experience. I look forward to talking with others about how, when, and why writing happens and how we pursue pieces to finish them and create books. I’m looking forward to being part of this writerly conversation alongside other Kentucky writers.