2011 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award, Southern Illinois University Press, 2013

“There is an aural intelligence in Tongue Lyre that tests its lines as if they were part of an  instrument, which, indeed, they are. It is no accident that much of the matter in Tyler Mills’ poems  involves the subject of music—honoring it, evoking it, making it. But the poet’s vocal skills are easily  matched by her rich visual brilliance—in so many ways Mills’ poetry is the example of how the  imagination becomes a narrative less told than sung.”   —Stanley Plumly 

 “In fractured lyrics, Tongue Lyre circles an absence, an epicenter, a wound. Through the sensibility  of a postmodern Philomela, the nature of unspeakable trauma is simultaneously interrogated,  evaded, and—ultimately—recovered and given voice to in artifactual narrative fragments and  shards. Palimpsest with myth and dangerous memory, Tongue Lyre is part tapestry, part song—  unutterably powerful in its fierce reclamation of music and broken beauty out of flames, collapse,  shattering, violence, disaster. Moving with an assured, tumbling associational momentum and  flecked with scalpel-chiseled images, virtuoso passagework, these poems will thread their way  through your head like a piercing silvered needlework where they will linger. And sing.”   —Lee Ann  Roripaugh, Author of On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year

 “From violins to ossuaries, Tongue Lyre is a lovely debut humming with the gift of a lyric ear. Tyler  Mills composes a musical odyssey of the human soul where ‘flames ice the grass.’ Whether riding a  bicycle ‘the length of an island,’ cleaning a lyre with rice, or caring for ‘a child / found in an empty factory,’ Mills wisely reminds us that ‘when language fails, there is sound.’ A beautiful collection, refreshing in its allusive and tonal valences.”   —Karen An-hwei Lee, Author of Phyla of Joy

Available from SIU Press and  Amazon

Tongue Lyre on Goodreads





  • Tyler Mills all rights reserved ® 2013

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