Room by room and roof by roof, the poems of Lynn Pattison’s Matryoshka Houses open up those dwellings in which the speaker has lived, and lost, and loved, where the soup contains everything from hard knocks and thorns to the divorce decree, and rooms are “flooded pink with sun through the crabapple.” These are poems that have emerged from a life not only fully lived, but fully seen. The world, here, comes in through the eyes and is sifted through the imagination: “Wide white wings / bloom from either side” of a plow blade, she writes, “as if some/commanding angel sweeps across / the prairie in moonlight delirium.” Pattison’s is a worthy voice to guide us through these disorderly, “illogical days,” this “understory world,” where still the houses of memory sing, in “Calls that reached to the pasture / if they had to”—Here I am.
—Diane Seuss, author of Four-Legged Girl and Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl
Lynn Pattison writes, “Here,” the house sings, “Here I am.” In Matryoshka Houses, she deftly explores how her homes have served not only as vessels for loved ones and the tangle of objects a family accumulates—like records playing on a Victrola and jewelry boxes decorated with dancers—but are also containers for deep emotions and memories. In these graceful poems, she blends her many houses together seamlessly, until, distilled, they become the essence of home, which stands, “steadfast / no matter the weather,” and to which she returns, again and again.
—Kathleen McGookey, author of Instructions for My Impster
Time collapses in this wistful and shimmering collection by Lynn Pattison, in which all the rooms and houses her speaker has lived in become layered like double exposures, a palimpsest, nested Matryoshka dolls. Whether lived in for days, like a hotel room in Cancun that becomes home to a seasick tourist; or decades, like the family homestead where “my father / remembers his father setting logs at dawn,” these lost homes and their furnishings take on mythic significance, resonating with the reader’s own memories. Easily read in one sitting, this chapbook is an ideal introduction to Pattison’s fine work.
—Julie Kane, former Louisiana Poet Laureate and author of Mothers of Ireland
Lynn Pattison’s work appeared, most recently, at Ruminate and Moon City Review. It has also appeared in Smartish Pace, Pinyon, The Notre Dame Review, Mom Egg Review and elsewhere. Previous collections include : tesla’s daughter (March St. Press); Walking Back the Cat (Bright Hill Press) and Light That Sounds Like Breaking (Mayapple Press).
Lynn Pattison’s chapbook, Matryoshka Houses, debuted June, 2020 from Kelsay Press. It can be ordered from the Press or purchased from Amazon or Kelsay Books.