At Rest in My Father’s House

(6 reviews)


Publication Date: July 26, 2022, PRE-ORDER NOW!

William Jolliff’s newest collection of poetry is a love song for a way of life that is no more. With the coming of industrial agriculture to rural Ohio, family farms—and the communities they created and sustained—passed away. And so too, now, have the women, the men, and most of the children who did the work. In the tradition of wise old farmers who would never let simple truth get in the way of a complicated story, At Rest in My Father’s House is a confluence of family fictions, real-life events, and transformed memories. Each poem offers readers an intimate passage into the bottomlands of flyover country. Taken together, they chronicle a particular sensibility, a way of being in relationship with a place that—though ignored by the broader culture—is well worth remembering.

SKU: 978-1-951547-21-9 Category:

Additional information

Publication Date

July 26, 2022


Perfect Paperback, eBook


978-1-951547-21-9, 978-1-951547-22-6


89 pages


6 x 9 inches

6 reviews for At Rest in My Father’s House

  1. Suzanne Underwood Rhodes, Poet Laureate of Arkansas, author of FLYING YELLOW

    “Make it true.” These words from the introductory poem “Linea Nigra” are the earth and soul of William Jolliff’s bountiful new collection At Rest in My Father’s House. In the raw, real light of Jolliff’s memory we are drawn to his deep sense of empathy for and identification with the hardscrabble farming families of his rural Ohio homeland, folks ever at the mercy of the weather and market’s whims. These forces and the values shared in community shape them into tragic figures like Merle Freeman who lost everything and his life, or tender, like old Tilly with her “patched dress” and “mothering hand” who “wrote down words to songs she’d sung forever.” Of all the unforgettable stories, told seamlessly by a poet sure of his voice and his craft, it is Jolliff’s portrayal of his father that held me hardest. The son’s struggle to understand his harsh, unyielding father for whom truck and tractor were life, is relieved by his reach for grace, grace we encounter in a poem like “Suppertime”: “I can see him / now, leaning on his left arm, eating with the right / his talk fading into a picture I carry here. Right here.”

  2. Jeffrey Bilbro, editor in chief, FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC

    These poems glean grace from the abandoned fields and towns of a Midwest childhood that led, eventually, to an academic life. God and banjos, family and loss weave through these rich pages. The well-rung lines narrate vivid vignettes, and then each poem turns, and its meaning leaps beyond the immediate confines of its purported subject. The result is verse that sings, that bites, that haunts.

  3. Gina Ochsner, winner of the Flannery O’Connor, Raymond Carver and Kurt Vonnegut Awards for fiction, author of THE HIDDEN LETTERS OF VELTA B

    I don’t know of any other poet who tills the dark soil of memory’s hard geography as deeply and beautifully as Bill Jolliff. In the manner of Ron Rash or Mary Oliver, Jolliff attends to what others might deem unworthy of notice or ordinary. Through the powers of his keen ear, eye, and finely honed lyric, Jolliff makes the small and insignificant necessary and extraordinary. Each poem bristles with fierce energy. Each poem jolts me to a state of utter wonder and awe.

  4. Dave Mehler, author of ROADWORTHY, editor of TRIGGERFISH CRITICAL REVIEW

    Bill’s poems come with a mule’s epiphanic kick, breathing histories of lived life in rural Ohio that prove to be accessible and revelatory. Here the comic sits beside or within the tragic—these poems bring to mind Edgar Lee Masters, Wendell Berry, and Maurice Manning. They carry the regional authenticity of diction, a syntactical, sonic and rhetorical grit, and hold an intergenerational tension having to do with a disappearing or already disappeared way of life: family farms transformed and subsumed by agribusiness. If you wish to understand the rural half of America, you must read this!

  5. Paul J. Willis, author of SOMEWHERE TO FOLLOW

    By day, William Jolliff is a college professor in Western Oregon; by night he remains a chore-bound farm boy in Southern Ohio. It is this deeply soiled and dieseled version of the poet that so eloquently inhabits the difficult beauties of the place and people he is from. At Rest in My Father’s House is almost anything but that. But his sweat-soaked, banjo-stricken lines remind me, again and again, of that ancient dictum from the Scriptures: ‘Strive to enter into rest.

  6. Nathaniel Lee Hansen, Editor editor of THE WINDHOVER

    The poems in Jolliff’s newest collection are saturated with exquisite detail and imagery, unforgettable characters, and dry wit. Reading these poems is akin to reading a collection of interrelated short stories grounded in the rural and the particular. I am confident readers will be grateful for the journey into the lives of people wrestling with death, loss, and hope.

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