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WTF Poems ~Laura Foley

Monday, June 12th, 2017

WTF is a collection of 18 poems, which are the biography of the author’s father – William T. Foley.  It is the recounting of a life of a WWII POW, doctor, husband, father, and mansion resident high up in New York City.  He is described as a healer not a killer and he enjoyed the respect of other men.

Foley’s words continue to share the sharp treatment of her mother and the contrast of how he robustly denounced his daughters:

DADDY’S GIRLS
He wanted a boy so badly,
he called four girls
a Chinese curse,
blamed our mother,
haunted us, his
unwanted daughters.
Kiss me, he’d insist…
Quickly, we learned to turn away,
duck his gaze,
but still he broke us,
two to madness,
one to meanness,
one to poetry.

I read a poem nearly everyday and I enjoy listening to poems being read aloud on the Writer’s Almanac (Garrison Keillor) on the radio.  I either like a poem or I do not and I like to analyze what I believe was the poet’s intention – just for the fun of it.

This is the third book of poems I have reviewed by Laura Foley and I have enjoyed them all.  One reason that I care for them so much is that Foley has done her homework and emotional companion work; she shares that integration with her writing.  The raw feelings are still evident and they allow the reader to touch into the poem and connect with one’s own emotions without one needing to work that emotion through for the author.  The work has been done and the reader is able to respond cleanly.

Poetic Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review. WTF – my pleasure.

“Laura Foley is the author of five 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.  She won the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry contest, judged by Marge Piercy. A palliative care volunteer in hospitals, she lives with her partner Clara Giménez and their three big dogs among the hills of Vermont.” (Cover)

Laura Foley Web
Laura Foley Facebook
Laura Foley Writer’s Almanac

Related:
Joy Street
Night Ringing
To Be of Use
Gone to Soldiers

THE INTERSECT: A Novel ~Brad Graber

Monday, November 14th, 2016

“When life veers off course, strangers find comfort and lasting connection”

There are so many issues discussed in this fine story it is hard to find a place to start. A couple decides to move out of the heavy, duty, frenetic life of San Francisco and relocate to Phoenix, Arizona.  Dave and Charlie form the foundational couple for the story, well! until they begin to have some troubles of their own.  One new job is crazy making stressful and the other new job is rolling along just fine.  Oh! But they found the perfect house and have remodeled it to their liking.

Daisy an older woman, vibrant and on her own, is in a car accident and has to have a hip replacement.  Her nephew Jack and his wife Enid have moved from Michigan to Arizona and Enid decides Daisy is dying and she starts  “handling her affairs”, which is a disaster.  Bonnie a physical therapist, gets Daisy back on her feet as they discover that Daisy has no place to go as she leaves the rehabilitation center.  The two have become fast friends.

“Anna, a gifted psychic who channels the dead, is concerned about her neighborhood.  She hires a handyman to install motion-detectors, unaware that Ernie has entered the United States illegally from Mexico as a child.  When Henry, a homeless gay teen, attempts to rob Anna, Ernie intervenes and melee ensues.  The police mistakenly arrest Ernie, leading to his deportation.” (cover)

We are just about right at the story line where the character’s lives are beginning to weave together and they are all making connections, which hold them fast into a new family framework.  It is not easy going and there are lots of turns and twists to this wonderful story.  Lots of restaurants are mentioned in the Phoenix area and these characters all eat lots of fine and tasty foods.  I got a bit of a hankering for popcorn during the read.

Larissa at Claire McKinney PR sent me a copy of this book for review – what a treat.

The story has quite an exciting ending and the author invites one to discover an extra chapter on his website

Brad Graber Website
Brad Graber Twitter: @jefbral
Brad Graber Facebook

About Brad Graber:

“Brad Graber was born and raised in New York City. He obtained a B.A. in Biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and an M.H.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. As a healthcare administrator, Brad has held a number of positions living in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago; West Bloomfield, a suburb of Detroit; and Mill Valley, a suburb of San Francisco. Brad currently resides in Phoenix with Jeffrey, his spouse of 26 years, and their dog Charlie. Brad volunteers with non-profit organizations, most recently with Duet, which provides support for seniors. He has in the past volunteered with OnenTen.org, which supports GLBTQ youth. THE INTERSECT is Brad’s first novel.” (From Claire McKinney PR)

“Exploring today’s hot-button issues of immigration, elder abuse, and teen homelessness, THE INTERSECT shows readers that strangers can make unexpected and lasting connections—even as they reveal the most vulnerable part of themselves.”

A most enjoyable read and I would highly recommend it as a great story, well written.

My favorite quote:  Page 251

“It’s what’s in your heart.  You’ll know by your reaction to others.  How you behave speaks volumes about who you are.  Determine if that’s the person you want to be, and then, if you don’t like what you’re feeling, make a change.  Every day we get to choose who we want to be.  When you find the response that feels best, you’ve found your true self.”

Related:
My Thinning Years
The Isolation Door
We’re All Damaged

NIGHT RINGING: A Memoir in Poetry ~ Laura Foley

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

I like to start my day with a poem.  I have an email subscription to a ‘poem a day’ site, which reliably sends something delightful to my inbox and I am introduced to many new writer’s words.  I have no expertise with poetry and did not study it much in school as I fell in love with the longer forms of storytelling.  This book arrived from TLC Book Tours in time to give me a full month of reading and re-reading and full on pleasure in the words.

This is the second book by Laura Foley; JOY STREET was the first.   I can only tell you whether I liked it or not – I really liked this book from cover to cover.

The Fast Course of a Relationship

Only last week, I brought her
a white magnolia snapped
from my front yard,
smelling like honey.

A country guest,
she accepted the blossom
with a kiss.  I find it today,
without a trace of fragrance.

“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.” (TLC )

There is an elegant simplicity to the words and phrases that centers the attention and sends a clear message.  The words get through and express what is needed and there are ups and downs with recovery and renewal.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and again and again.  I believe you will also.

Related:
Joy Street
Lust
Doll Gods

THE GOODBYE YEAR: A Novel ~Kaira Rouda

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Four families from a wealthy community in California are the focus of this story.  Each family has a senior in high school and they are starting that last year.  There are some funny scenes for sure in this book, but primarily it is about the frantic moments of thinking about the future and worrying about empty nest.

The voices are both from the children and the adults and some of the fears and concerns are just amazing to behold.  All of their lives are filled with extra meetings and college representatives and for some the cost of future training is so expensive – crisis.  One mother drives her son to be just like his older brother, as she worries about what she will do after her last child leaves home.  She begins drinking.  Dad becomes a voice of reason and opens the door for son number two to find his own passion.

The perfect mom realizes that she has made her daughter her best friend and made up for her husband’s huge travel schedule with this connection.  The daughter is feeling some pressure about being the “perfect” girl at school and working around her pre-acceptance to Harvard.   A strange boyfriend is part of the scene and of course Homecoming King to this Queen.

We have a family on a tight budget and they do not know how their child will afford college, and mom has the whole family on an incredibly rigid calendar schedule, which would knock anyone to the floor in protest and yet for half the book this family muddles forward.

The step mom well is just a selfish mess and yet daughter finds away to keep her caring for her father after she leaves for college!  Actually, all the support characters are fairly fun to read in this story and even the drug problems are an interesting encounter.

TLC Book Tours sent along this fun read and I enjoyed it very much.  THE GOODBYE YEAR has over 70 4-star reviews on Amazon.

“Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction that sparkles with humor and heart including HERE, HOME, HOPE and IN THE MIRROR. Her latest novel, THE GOODBYE YEAR, will be released in May of 2016. Her modern romance novels are set on beaches, including the Laguna Beach series, the Indigo Island series and coming soon, the Malibu series.

She lives in Southern California with her family and is at work on her next novel. After living in Columbus, Ohio, for most of her life, she now enjoys the beach whenever possible.” (TLC Book Tours)

Kaira Rouda Twitter
Kaira Rouda Facebook

Related:
Sing Them Home
The Reinvention of Albert Paugh
The Moon Sisters