Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The Mississippi Magnolia
The deep south resplendent with aromatic euphoria associated with delicious food, fine hospitality, comforts beyond imagination, and -- Mississippi! Much maligned and ever so magnificent, this state is a bucolic jewel indicative of its state flower, so majestic and matronly. It's on display along with another symbolic treasure -- Patricia Neely-Dorsey who is on a journey of love and admiration for her home state to dispel the notion of stigmatized misinterpretation that usually depicts it. Now comes reflections from this talented Poetess with much articulation and a sassy way of showing it. She's rapidly making a name for herself, albeit with several interviews already under her belt. This being next in line is yet another intrusive look at what Mississippi has given us! I caught up with this remarkable young woman along this journey as she opened the door a bit to facilitate my entrance. Here is what she had to reflect upon about all things Mississippi, magnolias and more:
ACR: Give us an idea who the REAL Patricia Neely-Dorsey is...why do you feel people should buy your poetry?
PND: I am a multi-faceted and many layered woman! In my book I uncover and and peel away at some of those layers for myself and others to examine. I think that readers will begin to connect with things within themselves as they are reminded of their own life circumstances that may coincide with mine. I remember one woman writing me saying that my poems connected her to some of the best times of her life. She went on to say that it just doesn't get any better than that! What more can you ask for in a book (or anything else) than something that gets you more in touch with who you are, and helps you to explore and appreciate some of the simple pleasures that have been pushed back in the darker corners of your mind. What a wonderful thing it is to be reminded of the beauty of life. Generally speaking, Reflections Of A Mississippi Magnolia does that.
ACR: When did the idea hit home that you were a poetess...was it difficult starting the process?
PND: In the Foreword of my book, I say that I hesitate to call myself a 'poet' because of the way the poems were "gifted" to me. It was not hard at all to begin the process of writing poems because it was not something I tried to do or worked at in the beginning. All of my initial poems from Reflections Of A Mississippi Magnolia were poems that just started to flow out of me with no real forethought on my part. Over time though, I've become comfortable with the title because it is what I do. There's more conscious effort and just another part of who I am.
ACR: Why did you decide to write poems as opposed to other forms of writing?
PND: I've said countless times that I really didn't choose the genre nor venues to express myself in it - poetry chose me! I think that I had a lot of things within me that I wanted to have released to share...and they all came out in poetic form in a natural way.
ACR: How do you approach writing poetry as a whole...what comes first, the title or content?
PND: My poems are basically inspired by a memory or thoughts of some life event. I might be talking to a friend about something, or riding along and see an incredibly beautiful scene that jolts something inside of me. The poems then begin to form themselves and take a life of its own. I have a habit of telling people that my poetry come to me in many ways complete and fully packaged title and all. When I sit down to write, more often than not the content comes and then the title pops up as a sort of punctuation and icing on the cake. I must say that my titles really amuse me!
ACR: Let's talk about your latest claim to fame...how did it actually come about, why focus on Mississippi and what was the journey like form idea to shelf?
PND: Believe me, I had no desire or intentions of writing a book. I woke up on Valentine's Day 2007 with a poem swirling around in my head. I quickly got up and scribbled it down. After that, many more oems started to take shape, and flowed over a period of time. They became a source of personal entertainment and inspiration. When I started sharing them I constantly were told that I should do something with them. That encouragement led me down the road toward publication and as a result the book was published a year from the date that I wrote my first poem.
ACR: Do you have a specific approach for creating a model for a poem or coming up with a sense of style for your poems?
PND: As I write more, I am slowly learning the 'craft' of writing poetry. I didn't consciously use any elements of technically crafting or developing any of the poems in Reflections Of A Mississippi Magnolia in the true sense of it. The word that I repeatedly use concerning the poems therein is that they were a gift to me 'beautifully packaged', title and all. It's like they were gift-wrapped with a nice bow on top and laid at my front door! I say that to say that there's no specific approach or technique use on my part in getting the poems to the page. Even now, when I read some of the poems it's like opening a wonderful package not knowing what to expect. I'm still absolutely delighted with them, especially when people comment about how much I seem to enjoy interpreting them during readings and presentations. I feel myself smiling a lot when I read because telling the story about how the poems and book came to be seems more unbelievable to me. The STORY of the book is really a book in itself!
ACR: What have you learned about the writing of poetry and pulling deep within to feel warranted to write?
PND: I think that every person has a unique voice in the world. So much so that their story is different and need to be told. I have found that there is great value in sharing one's story. With it there is a true connection with self and with others that can be found in exploring the elements that make up a life story and the things that lie within. I'm learning so much about myself by reading and writing poems. There's something therapeutic and freeing in self-examination through creative insight. As a result of writing in poetic form I've found out so much about the lives of other folk as we compare and share life experiences. The expression of my inner self has opened up a whole new world that I'm just beginning to scratch the surface. I feel that there's so much more for me to share.
ACR: What's in store for you next, and what would you do differently now that you've published a book of your poetry?
PND: There is much more to come! My publisher is encouraging me to write a children's book of poems. I think that will be in the very near future for sure. There also will be another book of Southern-life poetry, and then a book of more intimate poems dealing with sensuality. I've already titled it -- 'The Secret Garden Of Love In Poems' . As far as doing things differently, I honestly feel that I probably wouldn't change a thing. Things are as they should be. I let all of the poems come as they do with them having my unique 'feel' and brand to them. I definitely want to continue learning more about the business of this business -- the marketing and promotional aspects of the industry. That, I feel is the REAL work!