It’s great to receive recognition. Hearing Garrison Keillor read my poem on A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac were happy moments. Also, hearing my son say that my late husband would have loved and appreciated my writing (neither he nor my parents were alive when I started this writing venture), was a happy moment.
But, writing itself is the greatest pleasure. That feeling of “getting it;” recently I wrote a poem about an old family photograph. I didn’t know why it was so magnetic to me. Finally, as I described it in words, I realized I was looking at an image of my mom and sisters a few months before my mom divorced my dad a few years before one sister was diagnosed with schizophrenia and the other with some other psychic disorder, and there I was all squirmy and feisty-looking, a little kid with uneven knee socks, and my dad, receiving an award, beaming into the camera. It told the whole story of our family, including my own survivorship.The sounds of the words also bring me great pleasure. I use lots of internal rhymes. Sometimes I choose a word and I don’t know why. Later I realize it’s because of the rhyme. Each poem has its own rhythm. For me, it works mostly unconsciously. As I write, I whisper the words out loud. I didn’t realize I did this until my partner pointed it out.
Night Ringing By: Laura Foley
“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.” -Patricia Fargnoli, author of “Winter, Duties of the Spirit, ” and “Then, Something
“I love the words and white space of poetry. I love stories even more. In this collection, Laura Foley evokes stories of crystallized moments, of quiet and overpowering emotion, of bathtubs and lemon chicken. The author grows up on the pages, comes of age, and reconciles past with present. Almost. Try to put the book down between poems to savor each experience. Try, but it won’t be easy. -Joni B. Cole, author of “Toxic Feedback, Helping Writers Survive and Thrive”
Plain-spoken and spare, Laura Foley’s poems in “Night Ringing” trace a life story through a series of brief scenes: separate, intense moments of perception, in which the speaker’s focus is arrested, when a moment opens to reveal a glimpse of the larger whole. Memories of a powerful, enigmatic father, a loving but elusive mother, a much older husband, thread Foley’s stories of childhood, marriage and motherhood, finally yielding to the pressure of her attention, as she constructs a series of escapes from family expectations, and moves toward a new life. In these lucid, intense poems, Foley’s quiet gaze, her concentration, and emotional accuracy of detail, render this collection real as rain. -Cynthia Huntington, author of “Heavenly Bodies”
Foley’s voice rings with quiet authority undercut by calamity, examining a life so extraordinary, she seems to have lived several people’s lives, setting a high bar for poetic craft she meets, in great mystery perfectly expressed in the tiny, quotidian, “spent matches pressed on wet pavement,” to soulful beauty, “as wind lifts/every shining wave”; in wisdom rooted in humor, from the deliciously funny “Flunking Jung,” to self-deprecating wit, misreading “poetic” as “pathetic,” reminding us wisdom is love, grown from self-compassion. -April Ossmann, author of “Anxious Music”
Link to Follow Tour: http://worldwindtours.com/index.php/2016/08/04/tour-sign-up-night-ringing/
Laura Foley is the author of five poetry collections. The Glass Tree won the Foreword Book of the Year Award, Silver, and was a Finalist for the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, Outstanding Book of Poetry. Joy Street won the Bi-Writer’s Award. Her poems have appeared in journals and magazines including Valparaiso Poetry Review, Inquiring Mind, Pulse Magazine, Poetry Nook, Lavender Review, The Mom Egg Review and in the British Aesthetica Magazine. She won Harpur Palate’s Milton Kessler Memorial Poetry Award and the Grand Prize for the Atlanta Review’s International Poetry Contest.
Click below for an excerpt
Ode to My Feet
For years I’ve thought them queer, hiding them in steamy boots and sneakers, but recently, I’ve begun to like their well-worked lines, blue veins, tapered, skinny elegance. Funny looking, yes, oddly protuberant, awkwardly angled, unlike anyone else’s, models for a medieval statue’s, ancient granite feet on a church façade, thoroughly unmodern. Yet, how well they climb steep cliffs, work my slinky kayak’s rudder, how they tingle, tapping to music across a wooden floor, dangling below me when I sit on high seats, and turning pink as we wade the cool mountain pond, warming, as they carry me faithfully home to rest.
On my back like a corpse, enjoying buoyancy,
I drift downstream as Amtrak, hooting, passes over.
I’m waving at passengers from the city,
who peer out their little windows, down at me.
wave so they’ll know I’m not dead,
All my life I’ve been waving
to passengers passing,
all my life I’ve been swimming,
In the Honda Service Area
We’re sitting knee-to-knee
while her car gets new brakes, mine new fluids,
she discusses hip replacement,
in warrior-like detail, with a friend,
each slice to flesh, how skin is spread
from bone, the pain she’s in, her plans when she gets home,
the miracle of titanium. I’m trying not to hear,
two foam plugs squeezed snugly in my ears,
head bent low over The Iliad. I’m at the part
where Achilles, known for ripping limbs,
breaking hips apart, rests angry in his tent,
saying he will not fight, not for shining pots of gold,
nor the seven dancing girls Agamemnon offers.
But, time and again, her new hips, titanium and strong as a god’s,
break through the bronze age scene, her voice
a wave dissolving the Trojan beach.