Review of Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia

reflections of a mississippi magnolia

Patricia Neely-Dorsey's book of poetry

Review of Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia  

I was honored to be asked by a wonderful southern writer, Patricia Neely-Dorsey, to write a review of her book of poetry, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia.  Her poetry collection was a wonderful trip down memory lane for me as Neely-Dorsey’s childhood memories of the South parallel my own.  I, too, was born and raised in the South.  Although many people may associate the South, and more particularly Mississippi, with its contentious and sometimes seedy past, Neely-Dorsey does the opposite.  Her debut collection of poetry captures the nostalgia of southern life.   

Within the pages of her poetry collection, she explores the subtle nuances of southern living.  Who from the South is not familiar with “watermelons on the vines” or even “turnip greens and hot cornbread”?—passages from her piece “Southern Life.”  I have experienced these simple pleasures, wafting through the pages of her book.  

The piece “Partyline” represents a period in time when the only way to communicate with people outside the home, besides with letters or telegrams, was the telephone.  It was not unheard of in the South to pick up the phone and listen in on two other people’s conversations.  Sometimes we couldn’t get a call through until one or the other of them hung up the phone—frustrating!  Yet wonderful memories!  

The selection “Hog Killing Time” is probably the piece that most resonates with me.  My father was a farmer and my mother a homemaker, and much of what is expressed in this piece reflects my own childhood.  During the fall months, we’d kill hogs and invite family and friends over to partake in the event.  To this day, I do not like chitterlings (chitlins in the Southern vernacular) because of having seen how they were prepared.   

There are some aspects of the Southern culture that are uniquely inherent to African-Americans such as in “Right to Vote.” The “contentious” aspects of our southern history are evident in this piece although Neely-Dorsey handles the topic with grace as she chronicles the struggles her mother and father underwent for the right to vote.  

Neely-Dorsey’s poetry reflects the rich history of the South although she explores the positive aspects in her poetry collection.  She explains, “There are many negative connotations associated with Mississippi and the south in general.  I want to show a flip side of the coin.  There is much to love about this much maligned and misunderstood part of our country.”  However, much of her collection will move any reader nostalgic for the “good ole days.”  

Anyone not familiar with southern traditions and customs would do well to read Neely-Dorsey’s collection of poetry, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia.  And one needs not be from the South to appreciate these southern gems.   

To read more of Patricia Neely-Dorsey’s works and purchase a copy of her poetry collection, please visit her website at  



About Katrina Parker Williams

Katrina Parker Williams teaches English composition and grammar at a community college. She is a Barton College graduate with a B.S. in Communications and a Masters of Education in English from East Carolina University. She is also the author of a fictional novel titled Liquor House Music. Her works have appeared in Charlotte Viewpoint, Muscadine Lines, Usadeepsouth, and on the Wilson Community College website. Her writings have recently been published at The Saints’ Placenta and All Things Girl and is forthcoming in Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and Muscadine Lines.
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11 Responses to Review of Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia

  1. Thanks so much for sharing with your readers about my “little book of southern poems”.
    It is greatly appreciated.
    Wonderful review!
    I am so glad that you enjoyed the poems.

  2. You are very welcomed. Thanks for sharing your work with our readers. Katrina

  3. The hog killing poem not only made me laugh but let me know write away that I was dealing with an authentic country girl.

  4. Kevin Williams says:

    Excellent review. Being from the South, this review makes me want to go out and buy this book of poems. I think I will.

  5. Prophet Tommie Broadwater says:

    I have been reading poetry since I was about 10 years old growing up in Jackson, Ms.
    My family all loved to write and read everything, it is definately a pleasure to read such realialistic words expressing the southern mood, then and now. Being a Liberal Arts major, I was required to study most famous Poetics and Artists, from C. C. Cunnings to Rembrant. Please keep the bookshelves full for all the little minds to explore. For it is the young that will gain satisfaction in your writings years to come.

    In His Care

    Prophet T. Broadwater

  6. Olivia Wright King says:

    “Reflections” reminds me why I do love good poetry! Your poems take me back to my childhood and to that simpler time that my soul misses and will always want to remember. Also, the beauty of the South, from it’s geography to it’s people are brought forth for all us Southerners to take pride in, and for “others” to understand. Thanks for reflecting those things that are important to us Patricia!

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