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Artist and poet

Oldham County author Lampton
reaches to the heavens in her latest work

She draws inspiration from nature for her books

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(December 2007) – The arts play a major role in Nana Lampton’s life. A painter and author, Lampton has just released her latest poetic effort, “The Moon with the Sun in Her Eye.”

Nana Lampton

Photo by Helen McKinney

Author Nana Lampton poses among
her books at the Kentucky Book Fair.

“Since I was a child writing and painting have been so much a part of my life,” said Lampton. “The Moon with the Sun in Her Eye” is Lampton’s first attempt at a book of poetry. Four years of hard work were put into the content of the book.
Lampton, 65, said she often takes her inspiration “from the land.” Frequently, her farm, where she has lived for the last 20 years near the Ohio River in Oldham County, is the subject matter of her writings.
Readers can sense the deep connection to nature that shines through her work. One reason for this is that she grew up on a farm in Oldham County. Lampton is very in tune with nature and shows her knowledge of the changing seasons, sun and moon patterns and the lay of the open fields in her poetry.
“In ‘The Moon with the Sun in Her Eye,’ Nana Lampton boldly explores the tension between the feminine moon and the masculine sun. In using the dual lenses of metaphor and image, she asks all of us, ‘Why can’t we see more clearly?’ ” said Sena Jeter Naslund, editor of the book. Naslund, a well-known Kentucky author of such books as “Ahab’s Wife,” published the book through Fleur-de-Lis Press of Spalding University.
Naslund and Karen Mann co-founded Fleur-de-Lis Press in 1976 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the literary magazine, The Louisville Review. “We’re devoted to publishing first books by authors. We’re a sort of stepping stone,” said Naslund. Fleur-de-Lis Press publishes one or two titles a year from authors such as Lampton out of their Louisville offices.
“There was always a tutor in the mix,” said Lampton, referring to her grandfather’s role in her choice of becoming a writer. Her grandfather, Mason Houghland, lived in Tennessee and Lampton has vivid memories of him reading to her as a young child.
Her mother, Nancy Lampton, would also read to her, encouraging and cultivating Lampton’s desire to write. By reading to her daughter, Nancy Lampton kept her daughter’s mind open and full of imagination.
“Nana is a splendid original poet,” said Naslund. She was a former student of Naslund’s at the University of Louisville.
The front cover of the book is from a painting Lampton created of her farm. The original work of art was purchased by the Brown Forman Corp. to hang in its office in Louisville.
Lampton paints mostly landscapes in watercolor and oil. “My mother was a wonderful landscape painter,” said Lampton. Her mother instilled in her the love of the arts at a very early age.
A graduate of Louisville Collegiate School, Lampton attended Wellesley College and earned a bachelor’s degree with a major in English Literature. She earned a master’s degree in English Literature at the University of Virginia, where she completed a year of graduate study in English and Writing. Lampton attended the Smaller Company Management Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business Administration.
Three art shows were held last year exhibiting her work. In 2000, the University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute exhibited 53 works by Lampton. It was her first major show. The vast volume of works covered her response to nature over the past two decades.
Lampton is CEO and Chairman of American Life and Accident Insurance Co. of Kentucky in addition to holding the same titles with Hardscuffle Inc. She travels extensively on business always packing a sketchbook with her to document her world travels to such places as Kenya, Africa, India and Czechoslovakia.

• In June 2008, Lampton will be exhibiting her artwork at the Smith-Berry Winery in New Castle, Ky. Her book of poetry, “The Moon with the Sun in Her Eye,” can be purchased for $15 through Fleur-de-Lis Press by calling (502) 585-9911, ext. 2777, or online at: www.spalding.edu/louisvillereview/press.htm.

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