“I revel in the genius of simplicity” Laura Foley writes as she gives us in plain-spoken but deeply lyrical moments, poems that explore a life filled with twists and turns and with many transformations. Through it all is a search for a fulfilling personal and sexual identity, a way to be most fully alive in the world. From multicultural love affairs through marriage with a much older man, through raising a family, through grief, to lesbian love affairs, Night Ringing is the portrait of a woman willing to take risks to find her own best way. And she does this with grace and wisdom. As she says: “All my life I’ve been swimming, not drowning.”
Paperback: 108 pages
Publisher: Headmistress Press (January 11, 2016)
I am not one for critically reviewing books, I generally just give you my opinion--what I like and what I don't, what moves me, inspires me, makes me smile or brings a tear--and that's what I'll do with this book of poetry. Night Ringing is a deeply personal and accessible collection of poems about the moments in life, both big and small. Even though the author has led a very different life than mine, I can relate to many of her feelings and many of these poems spoke to my soul. Incident in the Coffee Shop tells of a woman having her usual breakfast and an emotional moment when the waitress asks if everything is OK--only realizing in that moment that she meant the food. I can relate. Other poems capture moments at the doctor's office, the death of a parent, the end and the beginning of relationships, divorce, family secrets and issues, nature and different places. Emotions are expressed in clear tones and simple lines; the poems aren't complicated and there is nothing to get or not get. It's a moving collection and one to savor. I kept the book by my bed and read a poem or two each morning, skipping around to balance the happy or peaceful emotions with the sad ones. If you enjoy poetry and poems about life, you will likely enjoy it and if you are new to, or intimidated by the thought of poetry, Night Ringing is a gentle place to start appreciating it.
The first poem in the book, The Turtle, pulled me in with its beauty and simplicity and because I love turtles (honu in the Hawaiian language). Many of the poems in the book go very deep into emotions, happy or sad but this one easily captures the feeling and wonder of a turtle. I share it here, with a picture I took of a resting sea turtle on the beach at the North Shore.
Author Notes: Laura Foley is an internationally published, award-winning poet, author of five collections. She won First Place in the Common Goods Poetry Contest, judged by Garrison Keillor, who read her poem on “A Prairie Home Companion”; and First Place in the National Outermost Poetry Prize, judged by Marge Piercy. Her poetry collections include: Night Ringing, The Glass Tree and Joy Street. The Glass Tree won a Foreword Book of the Year Award; Joy Street won the Bisexual-Writer’s Award. Her poems have appeared in The Writer’s Almanac, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pulse Magazine, Lavender Review, The Mom Egg Review, in the British Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology, and many other journals.
A certified Shri Yoga Instructor and creative arts facilitator in hospitals, she is the mother of three grown children and has just become a grandmother. She and her partner Clara Gimenez live among the hills of Vermont with their three big dogs.
There are a few mentions of food and several of coffee in Night Ringing like an aliigator burger--"Cajun-spiced and barbecued just right," ice cream, Chinese food, lemon chicken, pina coldas, a chocolate cherry, coffee beans, and a coffee shop with a breakfast of OJ, bialy, and eggs, poached easy.
Since coffee shops were in a few of the poems, rather than make a dish, I took inspiration from My Own Hand, the last poem in the book and had a cappuccino from my favorite local coffee shop, made by one of my favorite baristas. It was definitely a cappuccino kind of day...
I'm linking up this review and recipe to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.
Note: A review copy of "Night Ringing" was provided to me by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.
Happy Aloha Friday!