Today Patricia Neely-Dorsey, author of the book of poetry Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia, is joining us for an interview!
Beth: Hi! Welcome to Beth's Book Review Blog! It's great to have you here today! Thank you for taking the time to join us and answer some questions.
Congratulations on your first book of poetry, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia, being published! Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Patricia: Reflections is "a true celebration of the south and things southern." There are so many negative connotations associated with Mississippi and the south in general. In my book, using childhood memories, personal thoughts and dreams, I attempt to give a positive glimpse into the southern way of life.
Beth: How did you get the idea to write a book of poetry? Have you always written poetry?
Patricia: LOL! That's funny! Believe it or not, I wrote my very first poem on Feb 14, 2007 at the age of 43! There is something to be said about late bloomers! (smile). I woke up on Valentine's Day 2007 with this poem just swirling around in my head. From that day on, poems just literally started to flow out of me. I have always had a love for poetry from a very early age. My Dad used to recite poetry to me all of the time from the time I was a very young girl. From that, I developed a great love for poetry. I have a poem about that in my book.
Beth: How did you choose the title Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia?
Patricia: The title came very naturally. I gave that name to the collection of poems that I had accumulated, before I even ever decided to publish a book. The book is called Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia - A Life in Poems. It is essentially just that....my life in poems. They are mostly reflections on things that happened as I was growing up in rural Mississippi..lots of poems about country life and southern living. The magnolia is the state flower and state tree of Mississippi. Women from Mississippi are often called Mississippi Magnolia...so.. there it is....Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia.--ME (smile)
Beth: How did you get the news that you were going to be published? What did you do to celebrate?
Patricia: My longtime friend introduced me to Mr. George Grant of GrantHouse Publishers in Jonesboro, AK who had published my friend's book several months prior. I was elated that he was interested in publishing the poems.
Beth: Do you have any new projects in the works? Can you give us a sneak peek?
Patricia: My publisher wants me to do an illustrated children's version of Reflections using age appropriate poems . That project is in the works for on down the line. I have enough poems, right now, for at least two more books other than the children's book. One will be a book of love poems entitled The Secret Garden of Love.
Beth: How fun is it to have your sisters from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. support you at book signings and readings? It must be nice to have familiar faces in the crowd!
Patricia: It is wonderful to see my sisters (sorors) in the audience when I speak. They always come out in force at all of my readings. We are everywhere! (smile) I receive such an overwhelming amount of encouragement, love and support. I especially love to see the look of pride in the eyes of the older sorors.
Beth: I'm always curious about what other people are reading. What are you reading now?
Patricia: Oh lots of things at once!! I have been reading (rereading) a lot of the work/poetry of Margaret Walker. I was floored when a reviewer compared my work to hers. (She's a literary legend) So, I just had to go back to read many of her poems again. I couldn't believe my name was being used in the same breath with hers.
Beth: And finally, do you have a favorite book of all time?
Patricia: Well now..from now on, it's going to have to be Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia (LOL)! Seriously, though, three of my very favorite books since I was probably in junior high school have been I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou) and Coming Of Age in Mississippi (Anne Moody) and Jubilee (Margaret Walker). I think that there is a three-way tie between those three.
Thank you so much for allowing me to share about my "little book of southern poems" with you and your readers.
Patricia Neely-Dorsey is a 1982 graduate of Tupelo High School in Tupelo, Mississippi. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. After living for years in Memphis, Tennessee, working in the mental health field, she returned to her hometown in August 2007. This, her first book of poetry was published in February, 2008 (Grant House Publishers). She currently lives in Tupelo with her husband James, son Henry, and Miniature Schnauzer, Happy. She is a proud, active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., an avid reader and passionate writer.
Thank you so much to Patricia for joining us today! If you'd like to pick up a copy of her book Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia, click the cover image below.