I’m pleased to feature Mrs. Patricia Neely-Dorsey as one of the first writers to be interviewed on my blog. As a fellow Mississippi writer, I am proud to help with the promotion of her book REFLECTIONS OF A MISSISSIPPI MAGNOLIA- A LIFE IN POEMS.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Patricia Neely-Dorsey. I am a 1982 graduate of Tupelo High School in Tupelo, Mississippi… located in the beautiful red clay “Hills” of Mississippi..and yes, the birthplace of Elvis Presley. (smile) I received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. After living for almost 20 years in Memphis, Tennessee, working in the mental health field, I returned to my hometown in August 2007. Reflections, my first book of poetry was published in February, 2008 (Grant House Publishers). I currently live in Tupelo with my husband James,son Henry,and Miniature Schnauzer, Happy. I am a proud, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., an avid reader and passionate writer. I am, also, a thiftshopping/yardsaling QUEEN! (LOL).
My love for the south, southern values and the the overwhelming beauty of the south are the main inspirations for the poems contained in Reflections. There are so many negative connotations associated with Mississippi and the south. In my book, I try to show a flip side of the coin. I try to let readers see that there is much to love about the southern way of life. Reflections was called by one reviewer ” a love letter to the south”. I totally agree that it is and I consider myself to be a Goodwill Ambassador for Mississippi and south. I invite readers to “Meet Mississippi (and the South) Through Poetry, Prose and the Written Word.
When did you first start writing poetry? Was it something you always wanted to do?
Actually, I was a very late bloomer when it came to this poetry writing thing! (LOL)…Most of the people that I know who write poetry have been doing so for many years, usually starting in their teens. I wrote my very first poem February 14th (Valentine’s Day) 2007, at the age of 43! I have always loved reading and listening to poetry. My father introduced me to poetry at a very early age and recited poetry to me on a regular basis from the time that I was about five years old. He was very instrumental in the development of my love for poetry. I have a poem about that in the book.
What inspired the brilliant title of your book of poetry?
The title was just a natural choice because it is filled with reflections on my life. It is, essentially, my life, in a capsule, in poems. Of course, most people know that Mississippi women are often referred to as Mississippi Magnolias ,just as Georgia women are often called Georgia Peaches. So, putting it all together formed the obvious title. I, actually, named the collection of poems that are contained in the book long before I had any inclination or thought of publishing a book. It was to me, the simple description of what they were.
Have you written in any other kind of genre? Would you consider it?
So many of my readers have said that I should write an autobiography with more of the details of my life from the poems kind of “fleshed out” . I really think that the poems tell a very complete story .The book has been called a poetic autobiography by some. It truly is. I have a quote on my website that I love. It says, A poet’s autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote.” –Yevgeny Yevtushenko That is my sentiment exactly. My poems say exactly what I want/need to say in the way that I want to say it.
Are you working on any other writing projects or have plans for any in the future?
I hope to publish my next collection of poems sometime near the end of the year or early next year. It will be called Magnolia Memories and is, basically, a continuation of Reflections.
What are your writing habits? Do you have a certain routine or do you just write when inspiration hits?
I usually write whenever the inspiration hits me. When I see, hear, feel or remember something that really strikes me or touches me deeply, a poem just seems to naturally come forth. It is funny how the poems, often, just spring out unexpectedly. I would say that more than half of the poems in Reflections were written in my car! A poem would come to me and I would try to scribble it down the best that I could . I have so many poems on the back of receipts and on little scraps of paper! (LOL)
Do you have any advice for inspiring poets?
Stay true to yourself . Believe in your unique voice. It is your gift to the world.
And here is a glimpse of the South as seen in REFLECTIONS OF A MISSISSIPPI MAGNOLIA- A LIFE IN POEMS:
If you want a glimpse of Southern life,
Come close and walk with me;
I’ll tell you all the simple things,
That you are sure to see.
You’ll see mockingbirds and bumblebees,
Magnolia blossoms and dogwood trees,
Caterpillars on the step,
Wooden porches cleanly swept;
Watermelons on the vine,
Strong majestic Georgia pines;
Rocking chairs and front yard swings,
Junebugs flying on a string;
Turnip greens and hot cornbread,
Coleslaw and barbecue;
Fried okra, fried corn, fried green tomatoes,
Fried pies and pickles too.
There’s ice cold tea that’s syrupy sweet,
And cool, green grass beneath your feet;
Catfish nipping in the lake,
And fresh young boys on the make.
You’ll see all these things
And much, much more,
In a way of life that I adore.
Copyright 2008 Patricia Neely-Dorsey
from Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life In Poems
“Meet Mississippi Through Poetry, Prose and The Written Word”