Thursday, August 03, 2017

Review by author, publisher, poet, writer, and musician, Thomas Hubbard

Book review by Thomas Hubbard
Tupelo Honey & other tales, by Joy Leftow Published by Aquillrelle, 2017
164 pages
ISBN 978-1-365-84019-7

Don’t stop with ”one more pill...”
Nearly everyone who writes poetry passes through a period of pure autobiographical poems, usually defining themselves as “isolated” because of gender, race, religion, appearance or some other personal trait. The first piece in Joy Leftow’s collection, Tupelo Honey & other tales, is such a poem. BUT, unlike most victim poetry, it is a well crafted, literate work incorporating “rap” that actually expresses cogent information.
So Joy Leftow has indeed been there, and may still revisit occasionally. She has also developed much farther, turning out poems that look into others’ lives. Leftow’s title poem for this collection is “Tupelo Honey,” a heart- wrenching glimpse into the troubled life of a methadone baby who is also HIV. It’s been said that good writing produces a “word picture.” This poem goes beyond “picture” to produce a photograph in words. Have a tissue handy.
In “American Train Trip,” Leftow touches on another poetry staple, a poets’ poem. She relates, with what must at the writing have been a quirky half-smile, a train ride that turns
into a poem about a train ride that turns into a poem. Careful now, don’t trip.
In this collection you will find poems of nearly every type, even a nature poem titled, “Summer Yields to Autumnal Equinox.” Another word photograph. What is really important about this collection and about its author is its range. Reading through these poems you will see most of the stops a developing poet makes on her way to mastery. And having finished your first reading of Tupelo Honey & other tales, you may well find yourself buying another copy, or two, for gifts to friends—because this is not a shelf book. It belongs on your bedside nightstand. You’ll wear it out.