Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Published August 2019 by Headmistress Press
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher, through TLC Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review
My Thoughts: Six years ago I read and thoroughly enjoyed Laura Foley's Joy Street. It was a no brainer for me to pick up this volume when it was recommended to me. Like Joy Street, Why I Never Finished My Dissertation is a deeply personal collection. The first collection was focused on one aspect of her life but here Foley explores all aspects of her life, her first marriage at 19 to a man looking for his green card as she was looking to escape her privileged life, her second marriage to a much older man, mothering a mentally disabled daughter, becoming a grandmother, and finally finding real love in her forties. It is a life's journey.
Many of the poems are Foley's quiet reflections in moments alone. In others, the world comes crashing in, such as in Tehran Snow. While Foley's poetry is plain spoken and very approachable, she can also pack an emotional punch that hits you even when you see it coming, as in Visiting My Sister In The Mental Ward. Foley is capable of conveying so much in so few words, as she does in Motherhood:
Almost four, on a dare
from his bother,
he leaps from the raised silo floor
to the ground, ten feet down.
Due to birth my daughter soon -
my mouth's a wide-open O
as I watch his flight -
my hands an umbrella
around my big belly,
till he lands - on his feet
on soft summer grass,
and smiles up at me -
as I breathe, bracing myself
for whatever comes next.
If you're a mother, you can certainly relate to this poem, as you will be able to when you read Foley's poems about her daughter. They won't be the only poems that speak to you.
Thanks to the ladies at TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. For other opinions, check out the full tour here.
About Laura Foley: Laura Foley is the author of six poetry collections, including Joy Street, Syringa and Night Ringing. Her poem “Gratitude List” won the Common Good Books poetry contest and was read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. Her poem “Nine Ways of Looking at Light” won the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest, judged by Marge Piercy. For more information on Laura’s work, please visit her website.