Judith Sutcliffe Iowa Lyric

ISBN 13: 9780943164243

Iowa Lyric

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9780943164243: Iowa Lyric

A celebration of Iowa's landscape in its ever-changing seasons, this book of illustrated, short, lyric poems by Iowa author Judith Sutcliffe engages the senses, evoking the loveliness of the rural scene, the charm of small-town streets. Each of the 169 poems is illustrated by the author in simple, deft line drawings that capture , as the poems do, the essence of Iowa's rolling hills, roadside plum brush, prairie grasses, corn and soybean fields, and winding tree-lined creeks. The combination makes for fascinating reading and a visual delight. A perfect gift book.

The poems touch all the senses: the purring sound of lawnmowers, scent of lilacs, frost pictures on windows, symphonies of rain and thunder, the coolness of snowflakes on one's skin. The language of Sutcliffe's poetry is sensual and direct, with an Anglo-Saxon feel for internal rhyme and alliteration. The images are vividly painted, brushed with a minimum of words, reminding one of Japanese haiku, but expressed in common speech more akin to Robert Frost.

The book begins with lush images of summer fireflies and prairie grasses and moves on gradually through the nuanced changes of a Midwest autumn and winter, ending with the blossoming of spring. Those who have lived in Iowa will smile with warm recognition of the "little things" that are so often taken for granted, but in these poems they are pointed out for poetic celebrations--leaves on the sidewalk, night-fluttering starlings, dandelions gone to seed, magnolia buds.

Sutcliffe grew up in Iowa, but spent 17 years in Santa Barbara, California. She returned to her home town of Audubon, Iowa, in 1996 and wrote most of the poems in the book in exuberant response to experiencing the four seasons once again.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Publisher:

Not only is Sutcliffe the poet and illustrator of "Iowa Lyric," she is also publisher, book designer, and designer of the Abelard typeface used throughout. This is the second book she has written and the third trade paperback she has published. Her publishing career started with the purchase of a small press and a few cases of metal type in the early 1980s. She designed, linocut-illustrated, printed and bound two limited editions, before discovering the Macintosh in 1984. Within two years she was designing type for computers, one of the few women type designers in the U.S. Her Electric Typographer type designs are distributed worldwide. Subsequent books have been typeset and formatted on a Macintosh and commercially printed. Oddly enough, one of her earliest attempts at publishing a computer-generated book was a small chapbook with an essay written by Robert Waller, several years before he skyrocketed to fame with "Bridges of Madison, County." She still owns a Vandercook printing press, but, she says, "it languishes." Meanwhile, on the computer, she has several more books in the works.

From the Author:

After 17 years living in Southern California, moving back to the frigid winters of Iowa was a jolt. But it was a jolt of recognition and a wonderful re-connection with real weather. Southern California has a climate; it does not have weather! In Iowa, the earth and sky are alive and they're often roaring with winds, sweeping with magnificent clouds, pounding with rain, and dancing with lightning light. It's a magnificent show in its biggest, loudest thunderings, and it's wondrous in its little, gentle details of the continually changing seasons. All of this took my breath away and made we walk and walk around my town and the surrounding countryside, looking at everything. The result was exuberant poetry. Every time I came back from a walk, I'd sit down at the computer and several poems would stream forth, based on the images I had harvested that day. Another of the pleasures of Iowa is its quiet roads; the country ones are often quite empty of cars. You can drive sometimes for miles without meeting another car, and thus you can really enjoy looking at the undulating landscape from a car, without worrying about the press of freeway traffic. I have spent a lot of time driving back and forth across the state, and the colors of the fields and trees change almost from week to week, and in spring and fall, from day to day. The whole state is a work of natural art and a joy to behold. Out of that joy I write poems about what I see. My town, Audubon, pop. 2400, is in western Iowa, graced with rolling hills that look just like Grant Wood painted them. Yes, there are parts of Iowa that are flat, most of it in the central and north central parts of the state. It's the rolling hills of western Iowa and the sharper hills of eastern Iowa that I particularly love, but all of Iowa is beautiful, to an eye that sees.

For Christmas in 1996, I did a little booklet of the 50 or more poems I'd written that year and gave it to friends. Since then I've added many more poems. The new paperback is a harvest of 169 poems. And since I love illustrated books, it was a natural for me to illustrate these poems. I did very simple line drawings. They're meant to be evocative, like the poems, to suggest rather than deliniate.

There's no end rhyme in the poems. Instead there's something older, more Anglo-Saxon, and that's internal rhyme and alliteration. You will often find letter sounds repeated or echoed in each line of from line to line. It makes a music and rhythm all the way through the poem. The oldest poetry in the English language worked this way, and Wagner does it in the poetry he wrote for the Ring opera cycle. Besides, it's just the natural way to make word-music in English.

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