CEDAR FALLS — Laura Sohl-Cryer has had a “sonnet in her soul” since childhood.
“My soul sings with rhyme and meter in sonnets,” said the award-winning Christian poet and storyteller from Cedar Falls. She is the author of the recently published book, “Remembering the Home Place: Sonnets and Stories From Our Family Farm”.
Sohl-Cryer will share her work Sunday in the Community Hall at the Hartman Reserve Nature Center in Cedar Falls. The 2nd round of Sunday speakers begins at 2 p.m. There are no fees; registration is not compulsory. During the hour-long program, the author will read excerpts from his book, share adventures on his family farm, and help participants share their own stories and memories.
Growing up on a century-old farm in northeast Iowa that had housed five generations of her family, Sohl-Cryer began writing as a child, weaving stories of her life and experiences on the farm into sonnets. .
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“I was born on a farm in a blizzard,” she said. “The time for chores – 4:45 – is ingrained in my soul. Now, looking back, I realize that growing up on the farm was a blessing. Small family farms have almost disappeared and many of us have shared experiences that bring us closer to those roots.We need to share our stories of faith, family and life on the farm.
Sohl-Cryer left the farm at age 18 for college at the University of Northern Iowa, earning a master’s degree in communications. She started her career, got married and became the mother of two children, Emma, now 20, and Colby, 17. She has worked as a communications professional, taught college speaking and writing classes, and lived her faith. Recently, she became a lay minister at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Waterloo.
The first sonnet she published about farm life, “The Best Things,” won first place from the Iowa Poetry Association in 2015 and was published in Lyrical Iowa. Since then his work has appeared in numerous publications and received awards.
“Remembering the Home Place” was written as she dealt with grief after losing her mother in October and the stress of dealing with the estate. “Grief always comes unexpectedly, in unexpected places, and it comes in waves,” she said.
She took a break from her work. “I thought the estate would take all my time, but it turned out to be ‘fill in this form, mail it in and wait.’ I started writing this as a way to deal with my grief.I raised my hands and asked God for help.My faith is very strong and very important to me.
Sohl-Cryer described his process as “a wave of tears and punches.”
In his book there are tales and poems about swings, streams, picking green beans, vengeful roosters, building straw forts in hay, as well as stories about how his faith l helped her find joy and peace and guided her through sometimes dark and overwhelming times. places.
“From January to May, I remembered stories and adventures about farm life and writing. A story would lead to something I had forgotten. I should call my brothers and ask them if I remembered something correctly, if it really happened,” she smiles.
Readers tell Sohl-Cryer that his stories remind them of their own stories. She encourages them to share these memories. “That’s how you make connections. Farm children need to share their stories because it is a way of life that is disappearing.
“Remembering the Home Place” also includes pages for reflection and discussion to engage readers and encourage them to deepen memories and strengthen faith.
Sohl-Cryer said, “Writing has become almost like a devotion. The purpose was to remind me that God is with me. “I know you’re grieving, I know you’re sad, but sharing these stories will help.” The writing released some of the sadness.
Copies of “Remembering the Home Place” are available at area Christian bookstores and on amazon.com. For more information on Sohl-Cryer, visit www.sonnetinmysoul.com.