Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Joy Street by Laura Foley

Joy Street by Laura Foley
Published July 2014 by Headmistress Press
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review

Publisher's Summary:
Each poem in this radiantly plainspoken collection offers subtle and penetrating observations that swell to a rich tapestry of ordinary life, beheld from a stance of grace and buoyancy. Starting with intimations of desire in childhood, these poems travel through ordinary domestic scenes to the blessing of a maturity in which the narrator, still embracing desire and wild promise, thrives in the midst of life's darker gifts. This collection is truly a joy to read. It puts to shame those of us who walk through our days with "the din of loneliness," ignoring life's many invitations for bliss.

My Thoughts:
I'm not sure that qualifies as a publisher's summary; it's certainly more of a glowing review the publisher wrote to convince readers of poetry to choose this slim volume. So let's just see how it compares to what I thought of the collection:

1. Plainspoken - Very true. I was never left wondering what it was Foley was trying to convey.

2. Rich tapestry - At just 33 pages, with most poems not more than a stanza, I'd be hard pressed to call this collection a "rich tapestry." There's just not enough here for me to feel that way about it.

3. Subtle and penetrating - This one's a toss up - there are some poems that definitely look deeply into Foley's life but to say that they are subtle seems to contradict #1. This is, after all, a collection which contains the poem "Queer" in which Foley announces (discovers?) quite plainly that she is gay.

Laura Foley
I very much enjoyed Foley's style and her exploration of a new direction in her life following the death of her husband, her joy in finding this new love, the pleasure she takes in her new home, and the reality of explaining this choice to others.
I eye-roll Aunt Lizzie, who can't see me over the phone, tell her I'm dating a woman now, but at ninety she's adrift in uncharted seas, till i say we may marry - and she crests the wave, her kind old voice soothing: Oh, but Laura, you're still attractive to men, grasping the rudder with practiced hands.
This is the first collection of poems I've read that read that included so many narrative poems and I quite liked that. They feel very much like Foley just sat down and jotted some thoughts about life, very organic. It is, I think, the kind of poetry I'd enjoy writing myself if I were to do that. Who knows? Foley didn't start writing poetry until her forties. There may be hope for me yet!

Thanks to TLC for introducing me to a new poet. For more opinions about Joy Street, check out the full tour.


  1. I used to write a lot of poetry...I like the ones that feel like a story and you can follow along well.


  2. Sounds like an interesting collection. The publisher's summary gave me a chuckle! Great review.

  3. So glad you liked this collection. These are very narrative poems.

  4. Who knows, maybe this book will inspire you to write some poems of your own!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  5. "They feel very much like Foley just sat down and jotted some thoughts about life, very organic." - Yes! I felt the same way.