Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Review of WTF by Laura Foley

Wtf: Poems
by Laura Davies Foley
Published February 17th, 2017 by Cw Books

Laura Foley’s “WTF” refers to her father’s initials and, slyly, to the abbreviated colloquial exclamation, in a pun that laughs and cuts, in this reckoning with a fraught father-daughter relationship. These spare poems communicate more like snapshots than narrative lyrics, beginning with sympathy and gratitude, moving through disappointment, anger and resentment, without ever losing compassion, as Foley examines her father’s formative WWII experiences and, consequently, how he shaped her experience and character, ending with a positive recognition of her father in herself.


Though this might be a short book of poems it reveals an abundance of insight into Laura's father, a mentally fragmented man of war, and the lifelong relationship between the two. Unquestionably, brief in words, the poems contain the extent of knowledge, emotions, and insight felt as if I had read a full novel. Additionally, sometimes in a composition of poems, one might stand out more than the others that I relate to more, but this did not occur in this book I found each poem equally poignant therefore each one containing a favorable flow telling its own part of the tale. Finally, I learned something crucial that war does not only shatter the individual who fights in it but also negatively affects the next generation. Overall, WTF is a remarkable read. I have read it four times and am looking forward to reading more of Laura Foley's work in the near future.

Tientsin, December 1941
The night before his imprisonment,
after a truly Russian feast,
toasting each course with vodka,
he danced and sang all night.
In the rickshaw at four a.m.,
he wore his Manchurian fur coat
pulled up around his neck
against forty below,
each star frigidly distinct
in foreign constellations.
The chill Gobi Desert wind
blew Japanese sentries in too,
surrounding his house at six a.m.
where he slept like a child
beneath a warm Tibetan carpet--
the man who would be my dad,
who never slept so well again.

 Laura Foley is an internationally published, award-winning poet, author of six collections. She won the Common Goods Poetry Contest, judged by Garrison Keillor; and the National Outermost Poetry Prize, judged by Marge Piercy. Her poetry collections include: WTF, Night Ringing, The Glass Tree and Joy Street. The Glass Tree won a Foreword Book of the Year Award; Joy Street won the Bisexual-Writer’s Award. Her poems have appeared on The Writer’s Almanac, in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Lavender Review, The Mom Egg Review, in the British Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology, and many other journals.

A certified Yoga Instructor and creative arts facilitator in hospitals, she is the mother of three grown children, grandmother to two granddaughters. She and her partner Clara Gimenez live among the hills of Vermont with their three big dogs.

Follow her on GoodReads, Facebook, and Twitter.

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