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Night Ringing by Laura Foley

tlc tour hostSource: TLC Book Tours
Paperback, 108 pgs.
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Night Ringing by Laura Foley speaks to the risks we take, no matter how small, and the reverberations they generate in our lives. Each action has a consequence, even if those results are not seen immediately. Her simple observations are similar in that they quietly call attention to a moment and decision, and the effects creep up on the reader. Even the organization of the poems in each section seems to build upon the last, creating louder echoes of the ringing throughout the narrator’s life.

In “Daddy’s Girls,” the narrator talks about a father who wanted boys but had four girls. His actions toward them taught them to shy away from his attentions, eventually leading to the collapse of their own self-esteem. “Quickly, we learned/to turn away, duck his gaze,/but still he broke us,/” Her poems are short, but that makes them no less powerful. The girls are not the only ones broken, so too is the returned Viet Nam soldier in “The Staff of Life” who wakes from a dream with his hands around his girlfriend’s neck. “Driving Route 95” is the worst nightmare of any mother, the loss of family — a family that abandons you, not one that you leave behind. But it is true of all of us — we all fear being left behind, alone. This is a poem that will sear that fear into the hearts of readers. These are frightening images, images that will call up readers’ own histories of traumas past. How do you suppress those images? Do you knead the muscles until the pain subsides? do you meet those images head on?

Many of our memories are filled with regret, and these regrets often haunt us if we let them “I’m stumbling through/the dark, winding down a circular stair, to the place where the/ringing doesn’t end.”, the narrator says in “Night Ringing.” It is how we react to these traumatic moments and regrets that defines who we are — are we the moaning and yelping animals in a panic in “The Sounds Oblivion Makes” or are we swimming along even as we appear to be drowning, like the narrator in “Not Drowning”?

Night Ringing by Laura Foley examines a life led on its own terms in spite of the disappointments and the obstacles. A life that may look as though it was faltering and a person who seemed to be drowning, but a life that was lived with as little regret as possible. Foley expresses a wide variety of emotion in these compact poems, and readers will feel the crescendo when it hits.

RATING: Quatrain

Other Reviews:

About the Poet:

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.

Mailbox Monday #386

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Night Ringing by Laura Foley for review for TLC Book Tours.

“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

Daffodils (The Katherine Wheel Book 1) by Alex Martin as a free Kindle download.

Daffodils follows the varying fortunes of three people through the turbulent time of the First World War, as Edwardian England’s rigid class structures crumble under its weight. Katy is frustrated as a domestic servant and longs to escape. Jem loves Katy but cannot have her. Lionel, fresh from missionary work in India, is ambitious, arrogant and full of radical ideas. War affects them all in very different ways and each pays a high price for the changes they are forced to make.

Holidays with Jane: Christmas Cheer by Jennifer Becton, Melissa Buell, Rebecca M. Fleming, Cecilia Gray, Jessica Grey, Kimberly Truesdale, a free Kindle download.

Six talented authors make your Christmas lights twinkle with these modern-day adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels. Curl up with some peppermint tea and enjoy something special in your stocking this holiday season.

Love Song (Liebeslied) (Captive Heart Trilogy, #1) by Stephanie Baumgartner, which I purchased.

Virginia, 1944: The world is at war and America braces itself for the imminent Allied invasion that will liberate Europe from its Nazi captors. Ignored by her father, bullied by her mother, overshadowed by her brother, sixteen-year-old Cassie Wyndham yearns to do her part for the war effort.

But after years of feeling forgotten and neglected, Cassie doubts she has anything of value to offer, especially when her pastor requests volunteers for a new ministry program at the local POW camp. Risking the ire of her mother, Cassie signs up, despite her fear of the infamous Germans.

There, she meets Friedrich Naumann. Funny and kind, she is drawn to him right away. As their friendship blossoms into something more, Cassie and Friedrich struggle to keep their feelings from the rest of the world. But time is running out, and it won’t be long before the war ends and they have to say goodbye…

If their secret relationship isn’t discovered first.

What did you receive?