This collection of poems is a personal homage to a family history set in the Deep South. As with any family, there are stories, myths, and lullabies. The ones in these poems weave a complex backdrop to the flat and unforgiving dominion of the Delta. The land is both harsh and magical, a rural setting of bayous and blackberry thickets, and a vast horizon scored with distant latitudes and longitudes of pasture fences. Here, life is steeped slowly and spooned from a map of truths passed on like treasured recipe cards. There is hardship, triumph, and longing. Threading it all like a collective vein is the river. It’s what we know. It’s where we will return.
Advance praise for My Mississippi:
Laura Sobbott Ross writes like an angel. The poems in her new chapbook, My Mississippi, resurrect a past at once gone and continually present, a past of place and people rendered in a carnival of imagery as thick as biscuits and gravy, a catalogue of bone deep feeling just there behind the brilliant panes of memory: “Barometer/of sweet gum and paw paw leaves lifting/suddenly to share their understory” If you don’t know Mississippi, this book will make you homesick for a place you’ve never been. For exiles like me, it’s old home week.
—John Calvin Hughes, author of The Shape of our Luck
Anchored in the “mud-womb” of Mississippi, its bayous, rivers and lands, My Mississippi is an intensely female chronicle of a Southern family. Spanning generations, these poems are flooded with past—the plantation, Southern Belles, slaves, and war-ravaged land—but invigorated with the moving on, rebuilding and reshaping of love to envelop present-day descendants. Drawing from ancestral diaries, oral histories, memory and a rich imagination, these tightly-crafted poems are as rhythmic as the call of cicadas and as melodic as the river itself. A much-needed female voice that is plush as cotton bolls, but never sentimental, Laura Sobbott Ross renders a remarkable homage to family and the South. My Mississippi is a gorgeous book that deserves to be widely read.
—Gianna Russo, author of Moonflower
To read these rich, compelling poems is to step into the current of a wide and powerful river, one that sings "with a well-spring mouth." In them, we discover that the past—time, generations, land—isn't lost or left behind, but is the very current pulling at our ankles, all around us, urging us on. These poems are as alive as running water, deep as old roots, and familiar as close kin. My Mississippi is a genuine, enchanting achievement.
—LeighAnna Schesser, author of Heartland
Laura Sobbott Ross teaches at Lake Technical College in central Florida, and has worked as a writing coach for Lake County Schools. Her writing appears in the Valparaiso Poetry Review, Blackbird, The Florida Review, Calyx, The Columbia Review, Natural Bridge, Tar River Poetry, Cold Mountain Review, and many others. She won The Ledge Poetry Award 2013. Her chapbook, A Tiny Hunger, was the winner of the Seventh Annual YellowJacket Press Chapbook Contest for Florida Poets. She has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize.
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