In the spring, I had an unexpected offer to review two books of poetry by an author from my home state of Mississippi. I was and still am so flattered that someone would ask me to review their work and post a review online. I have to admit along with the surge of excitement also came the weight of realization of “what if.” I worried about what if I disliked the work, what would I say, and then how would I review the work kindly and gently but honestly? Fortunately, that worry was lifted and unfounded as I began to read Patricia Neely-Dorsey’s books of poetry.In his Letters To A Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke instructs a young writer –
“write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty – describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember.”
This sage advice perfectly captures what Patricia Neely-Dorsey has accomplished in her work. For those from Mississippi, a sense of home and place will resonate strongly in the words and take you to the front porch, the church potluck, to musings about Elvis, and even to the budding of love. But, I believe her words transcend beyond the borders of our state and reach any who feel a connection to their home, to a simple life filled with the love of place, family, and friends as well as those who are curious about what it means to be southern.
Patricia Neely-Dorsey is a woman who cares deeply for her home state and is a reflection and vocal proponent of showcasing Mississippi’s finer points. She is the recipient of the title Official Goodwill Ambassador of Mississippi by Governor Phil Bryant and one of her newer poems (not included in these two books), Meet My Mississippi, is being considered for selection as the official state poem. Her poem, Country Living, below, is included in a textbook for high school students in Germany learning English as a second language.
From Reflections Of A Mississippi Magnolia:
It’s basic, not plush.
From My Magnolia Memories and Musings:
Somebody’s always singing
Them Monday Morning blues songs
Them sho’nuff done me wrong songs
Them stayed out all night long songs
Them moaning, groaning love songs
Them bear your heart and soul songs
Them feel it in your bones songs
Them make you weak and strong songs
Them letting go and holding on songs
Them totally yours and mine songs
Them everybody knows songs…
We ALL love them blues…songs
One of my favorites is about reading but has a twist. From Reflections Of A Mississippi Magnolia:
I want to be
Your favorite book,
That you read
Over and over again,
From cover to cover,
And get lost in the story.
Not a fairy tale.
Not a mystery.
No cliff hangers.
“My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Isaiah 32:18