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Carilee's House by Lynne Santy Tanner
Carilee's House by Lynne Santy Tanner

Reminiscent of Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory," this image-rich collection of poetry captures a young girl's experiences on her grandparent's farm in the summer of 1945. Worlds apart from her parents' Park Avenue apartment in New York City, life on the farm in Garfield brings accounts of shelling butter beans on the front porch, shimmying up chinaberry trees, and playing war in the barn with limbs and hair flying free. As expressed in the title poem, "&0133;my brother and I became feral, coming in only to eat or to bathe&0133;" These are poems that will resonate completely with those who remember life in the '40s--blackouts, rations, fathers gone off to war--but Lynne's vivid descriptions make those times accessble to the rest of us as well.

Beyond the beauty of the poems themselves, Carilee's House is physically beautiful, too, with a full-color drawing on the front cover and a blue satin ribbon binding to add to the charm. 30 pages, softbound. $14.

Here's an excerpt:

Play Suits

In the cool middle room,
where the sun is shuttered out,
there is a sewing machine
with a treadle.
This morning a lady comes
to sew up play suits for me,
shorts and tops,
made from seed sacks,
a print of small chicks on one,
yellow roses on the other.

I will never again
have clothes in which
I am so totally happy,
My mother will throw them away
when we get home to New York City
but now I wear them every day
with pearls of dirty sweat
around my neck.

From Carilee's House (Finishing Line Press, 2006)
All rights reserved.

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