Mississippi Writers and Musicians
MISSISSIPPI WRITERS: Richard Lyons


Richard Lyons SHS student Michael Jack and poetRichard Lyons, Photo by N. Jacobs

Major Works

  • Fleur Carnivore, Winner of the 2005 Washington Prize presented by Word Works
  • Hours of the Cardinal, 2000, winner of James Dickey Memorial Award, published by University of South Carolina Press
  • These Modern Nights, 1988, Devins Award, University of Missouri Press
  • Thinner You Grow, (Chapbook) San Pedro Press, Tucson, Arizona, 1984.
Photo above right: Michael Jack and Richard Lyons at SHS.

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Biography of Richard Lyons
By Michael Jack (SHS)

Richard Lyons is an accomplished writer and teacher who has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Amherst, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona (1976-1979) and a Ph.D. from the University of Houston in English/Creative Writing (1984-1991). During 1979 and 1980, Richard Lyons was an Instructor of Freshman Composition for the University of Maryland in Fleur Carnivore by Richard LyonsHeidelberg, West Germany.  Lyons came to Mississippi State University, where he is currently an Associate Professor, in 1994 from Rhodes College in Memphis. He has two books out: These Modern Nights, and Hours of the Cardinal In 1988, Deborah Digges selected his first collection These Modern Nights as a Devins Award winner in the University of Missouri Press Breakthrough Series.  In 2000 Richard Howard selected Lyons's second collection Hours of the Cardinal  for the James Dickey Contemporary Poets Series at the University of South Carolina Press. Lyons has written three other books that he is planning to publish soon.Richard Lyons In addition, Richard Lyons has chaired and edited many different poetry committees, meetings, and magazine articles.

Richard Lyons has earned numerous awards for his works.  Some of these awards include the YHMA/The Nation "Discovery" Award for Poetry in 1984; the Stele Ehrhardt Memorial and Culled Fellowship from the University of Houston in 1984; the Alan Cooling Scholarship in Poetry from the Broadleaf Writers' Conference in 1986; the Criterion Fellowship from Imprint, Inc., in 1987; and the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets in 1992. Richard Lyons has been taught at over eight colleges and higher learning institutes. Altogether he has had over ninety-five articles published in magazines such as The Nation, Poetry, The New Republic, The Paris Review, and The North American Review.   He currently teaches in the English Department at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi.

UPDATE 2008: Richard Lyons continues to teach and direct Creative Writing at Mississippi State University. His latest collection of poetry entitled Fleur Carnivore was selected the winner of the 2005 Washington prize. He is currently marketing poems from his next work Granite from Sugar Water.

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A Review of Hours of the Cardinal
by Michael Jack (SHS)Hours of the Cardinal by Richard Lyons

I am not a particularly big fan of poetry to begin with, so I had trouble understanding the majority of the poems found in the book  Hours of the Cardinal. The poems' subjects  within this book seemed to be too sporadic for me to understand. I have read quite a bit,  but mostly I read from novels that have very definite and defined  plots to them,  unlike this book of poetry that changes subjects quite often.. I did enjoy a few of the poems….mainly one entitled Symmetry, which talks about a hummingbird and how in its tiny form it is so perfectly symmetrical. Most of the poems in this book seemed to me to contain some personal meaning to Dr. Lyons that one would have to know to fully understand them and get the true meaning, kind of like an inside joke. They may be more easily read and understood by people with more imaginative minds than mine, or with more experience in reading and writing poetry than I do. All in all,  I would recommend this book if you enjoy reading poetry.

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An Interview with Richard Lyons
by Michael Jack (SHS)

If you had one thing to change in your professional life,  what would it be?

“Nothing, maybe get luckier” These Modern Nights by Richard Lyons

Do you plan on writing more?

"Yes, I have written three books past that (Hours of the Cardinal), that I have not published yet.”

Do you have any other aspirations?

“Yes, to win every award given in poetry and to improve MSU’s writing program.

What is your favorite type of music?

Jazz

Who would you say is or has been the most influential author to you?

Robert Lowell

What is your favorite book, if you have one?  Richard Lyons, Photo by N. Jacobs

Day by Day, written by Robert Lowell

Do you have any hobbies other than writing poetry?

Yes, painting”

Favorite quote?

"Miles Davis said this once, I believe.  'You have to play a long time to sound like yourself.'"

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Related WebsitesRichard Lyons

Go here to view Richard Lyons's web page.

Curriculum vita for Richard Lyons.

Read reviews by other readers of Hours of the Cardinal .

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Bibliography

Lyons, Richard. Hours of the Cardinal.
Personal interview with Richard Lyons, April 23, 2001.
http://www.msstate.edu/dept/English/Lyons.html.

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May 2001, Updated March 20, 2008
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