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Book Review: Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia – A Life in Poems by Patricia Neely-Dorsey

Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia
by Patricia Neely-Dorsey
(GrantHouse Publishing)
4 out of 5 Stars

patricia neely mississippi magnolia on amazondotcom

In a time where most people shun being called “country”, Patricia Neely-Dorsey’s Reflection of a Mississippi Magnolia embraces all that is Mississippi country living. Before you can even open this collection of poetry, you are greeted with the beauty of a magnolia, Mississippi’s state flower.

Neely-Dorsey’s poems vividly and collectively paint a picture of a life that is simple yet provides rich experiences. From the authentic Southern menu found in “Soul Food Restaurant” to the culture depicted in “Yardsaling”, this collection of poetry gives more than a glimpse into lives of the good people of Mississippi. From the “Southern Man” poem where the main character fixes the back fence to the truth found in “If Mississippi’s In You”, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia shows a genuine pride in Southern culture.

I spent many summers in the small town of Winona, MS, where my dad still lives. I can say with confidence that Neely-Dorsey is an artist of words. Her images are painted vividly across the canvas of your mind as you thumb through her musings. Her words and rhyme patterns are simple, yet the complex imagery the words evoke will whisk yo down memory lane. I remember the “muscadines ripen[ing] on winding vines” (from “A Country View”) and using Vick’s Vapor Rub on everything “from arthritis to [a] bee sting” and “on chest or back” (from “Country Cure (All)”).

With Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia, Patricia Neely-Dorsey gives the world a book that is part biography, part rhymes, part imagination but all Mississippi!

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5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Patricia Neely-Dorsey, author of Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia

JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Patricia Neely-Dorsey, author of Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia
(GrantHouse Publishers)

patricia neely mississippi magnolia on amazondotcom

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia?

Patricia Neely-Dorsey: I didn’t really intentionally try to come up with an idea for a book or intentionally try to write a book. It all sort of just fell/landed in my lap. I woke up on Valentine’s Day February 2007 with a poem dancing around in my head. I quickly got up and scribbled it down. The rest, as they say, is history. After that day, poems just started pouring out. They just keep coming and coming day after day. In about two months, I had well over 200 poems. A friend of mine was very instrumental, and I guess you would say inspirational in encouraging me to publish them in book form.

JP: What sets Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia apart from other collections of poetry?

PND: I think that all poetry is very unique and individual like a fingerprint because of where it comes from. Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia is a collection that essentially chronicles my whole life up until this present time. The book includes poems about things that happened to my parents before I was born, my early childhood growing up in Mississippi, my college years in Boston, meeting my husband on a blind date, love, marriage, my son, and thoughts about mid-life…where I am now ( the Fabulous Forties). Specifically, it is my life in poems. Generally, it is a true celebration of the south and things southern. One reader called it a “love letter to the South”

JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia getting out to the public?

PND: I always rely on what I call Patricia’s P-Attitudes: Positivity – staying positive, believing in the dream, believing in myself and the book. Perseverance – never giving up. Persistence – being relentless and never taking no as a final answer. The forth one which was something I have had to really work on and learn is Patience, but it pays off in the end. The answer or outcome that you seek may take a minute! You just have to hold on. These P-Attitudes translate, of course, to every area of life.

JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia?

PND: That’s funny. I don’t really have a process. I just write the poems down as they come. That can be at any time and any place (very often in my car). The entire process from writing my first poem (Feb 2007) to the actual publication of the book (Feb 2008) took exactly one year. The actual publication process which included the submission of the poems, editing, proofing, cover design, and all that took less than two months. The poems was submitted the first week of January 2008 , all of the appropriate changes and additions were done and the book arrived at my door February 22, 2008

JP: What’s next for Patricia Neely-Dorsey?

PND: To infinity and beyond! (LOL) Well, I’m hoping that this book will have widespread, mass appeal and be wonderfully successful. I have enough poems for several books, so those are certainly down the line. My publisher would like for me to do an illustrated children’s book with age-appropriate selections from Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia. That is definitely a possibility in the near future.



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