When All Else Fails

Just Published!

Open-hearted and unwavering, these poems of vivid imagery navigate the reader through a lifetime—a rocky childhood, self-discoveries as a young woman, the many losses of adulthood, then finally learning to anchor one’s existence to beauty. Poems that give voice to connection with nature, with the arts, with creativity, and with loving relationships provide uplifting insights. Ultimately, When All Else Fails celebrates the restorative power of poetry itself.

Read an interview with Lana about When All Else Fails in the Newport News Times.

“…These poems sing with joy and reverence for a world ‘hard as agate but twice as beautiful.’ Ayers’ work speaks to us in a vividly rich lyric voice ‘born to be the sky’s reporter, mood ring for the rain.’”

—Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita

“When All Else Fails reminds us that poetry can arise from even the most difficult circumstances. Lana Hechtman Ayers takes the raw material of extreme childhood poverty and abuse and turns it into one arresting poem after another. Even more remarkable is that the poet emerges from this crucible fully alive. Ayers’ good humor and generosity of spirit are hard-won and all the more authentic for that. When All Else Fails is a powerful book.”

—John Brehm, author of No Day at the Beach and The Dharma of Poetry

“Lana Hechtman Ayers’ unflinchingly honest and sensual poetry traces her journey from a difficult childhood in Queens spent in ‘the dark house of my mother’s anger’ where the poet grew ‘scrupulous as an owl’, to a wildly luxuriant maturity in the Pacific Northwest where she revels in intimacy with sky and water, trees, birds, and a loving partner. The shadows of New York give way to a wide open spaciousness and a vibrant appreciation of simple gifts: eggs from the Farmer’s Market, the sound of rain, a beloved dog, and the window in the poet’s study where ‘One windy day I became a kite.’ Ayers generously takes us along on her journey from violence and decay to a hard-earned rebirth into nature, love, and art. In the end, we too are redeemed.”

—Alison Luterman, author of In the Time of the Great Fires

A review of When All Else Fails by Genevieve Jenner. [medium.com]

Contact Lana for an autographed copy.

As I stand listening
the air bristles with regret
or maybe it’s just the alders shaking
their leaves, thousands of tiny green
faces frowning in profile.

I have never understood my body’s reluctant aubade,
the way I wake slowly, thoughts coming on like panels
of curtains in a wall of windows, being drawn open one
by one, so that the sum of sun doesn’t overwhelm.

Morning light strains through a nimbostratus cloud
gathering around itself like a comfortable sweater.
The peaks of the distant clusters of blue hills hover,
stones in a bracelet charming the horizon.

In breath and time, a new day given,
beads of dew on the windowpane
remind me tender words must be spoken
before good intentions evaporate.
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