From George Ella Lyon comes a dynamic and humorous collection examining the transformations of one woman's life as she tries on, takes on, and peels off identities learned from family stories, gender, fairy tales, and myths. She Let Herself Go spirals through girlhood, wifehood, motherhood, and writerhood, through the poet's evolution, casting a discerning -- and often irreverent -- eye on the cultural expectations that have shaped her. Claiming Virginia Woolf as word-mother, these poems converse with powerful feminist poets, including Muriel Rukeyser, Ruth Stone, and Grace Paley.
Beginning with the physical "change of life," where the poet is "Strung / on muscle / of myth and miracle / a uterine knot / of work and words" Lyon reveals the interiors of previous selves like the opening of a nesting doll. Although the collection upholds a unifying theme, Lyon's work resists homogeneity. As with the many personas the poet assumes and casts aside, the poems take on wildly divergent shapes that must be recognized before the parts can be united in a new way.