|Poet challenges Governor's Scholars to use their imaginations
RELEASED: July 18, 2001
DANVILLE, KYKentucky poet George Ella Lyon likes to pretend.
"That's what fiction writers do: I pretend for a living. Sometimes I pretend I'm making a living," she said to the laughter of more than 400 in attendance at Weisiger Theatre Tuesday, July 17, at Centre College.
Lyon, a Centre alumna who lives in Lexington, did a poetry reading as part of the convocation series for the Governor's Scholars program.
Ideas for poetry or stories can come from various places, Lyon said. She suggested drawing thoughts from pictures, the stories of friends or family members, or other personal experiences. Lyon said she always keeps a notebook handy to jot down anything that comes to mind.
She read several poems dealing with parent-child relationships.
Her first piece was published when she was in the 7th grade in a Sunday School magazine. She also had works published while in high school and at Centre College.
It was during her final days at Centre that she wanted to further pursue writing.
"I realized that writing brought me the most joy," Lyon said. "But I was already a writer. Writing makes you a writer, not getting published. Getting published makes others think you're a writer."
Lyon has published two collections of poems, Mountain and Catalpa. Lyon's poetry collection, Where I'm From, Where Poems come From was selected for the New York Public Library's Best Books for Teens List. She has also published 19 picture books.
Interestingly, Lyon said her technique is not to think a poem or story all the way through. She said she just starts writing and goes from there.
Lyon, who also has degrees from the University of Arkansas and Indiana University, had a question-and-answer session with the audience after her presentation. Here are some the topics she spoke on:
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