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A visit with poet, Patricia Neely-Dorsey of Mississippi

Patricia Neely-Dorsey
Patricia Neely-Dorsey
Patricia Neely-Dorsey

In this article of the Examiner, we will be interviewing Patricia Neely-Dorsey, distinguished poet from the great state of Mississippi. Her poetry and her love for the state and its people is very apparent in her work.

Patricia Neely-Dorsey
Patricia Neely-Dorsey

Ex: First, I would like to thank Patricia Neely-Dorsey for taking the time to talk with us about herself and her career.

Patricia: Thanks so much for introducing me to your readers.

Ex: Patricia, for the benefit of our readers who may not have had the pleasure to have read your beautiful poems, tell them what you do.

Patricia: My name is Patricia Neely-Dorsey . I am from Tupelo, Mississippi. I am the author of two books of poetry entitled, "Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life In Poems" and "My Magnolia Memories and Musings- In Poems"
I call both books "a celebration of the south and things southern." There are so many negative connotations associated with Mississippi and the south , in general. Through my poems, I attempt to give a more positive glimpse into the southern way of life.

Ex: I see your love for the people and state of Mississippi in so many of your poems. Were you born there? Tell us about your childhood and the influences on your life and career, and what draws you to write so many poems about the state.

Patricia: I actually was not born in Mississippi but I got here as soon as I could ! (Laugh) Both of my parents are from West Point , Mississippi. My father was in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois, where I was born. The family moved back to Tupelo, Mississippi when I was about six months old.

My father gave me my great love of poetry.He would recite poetry to me from the time that I was a very young girl. I would sit beside the sink while he was shaving and he would amuse me with his favorite poems. As I got older, we would recite them together.I never really thought about writing poetry , myself, at all! It is something that just came to me.

I wrote my very first poem February 14, 2007.I woke up out of my sleep with a poem swirling around in my head. I got up and quickly scribbled it down. After that, the poems just started to flow and flow. In a few months, I had well over 200 poems and a close friend of mine encouraged me to publish them.

My first book, "Reflections," was published February 2008. The bible says out of the overflow of the heart , the mouth speaks. I think on that cold February morning, my heart just started to overflow with my love of Mississippi, southern life, southern family values,..and it all came out through poems.

Ex: I have a great love for Mississippi also. I was born there, as were my wife and two of our children. Even though we live in Tennessee now, I will never stop loving Mississippi. Your poems seem to be drawn from your inner-self, as if they are part of you. Is this true, or they from things that you see around you, or both combined?

Patricia: My poems are very much a part of me and things from within, combined with things around me that I have seen , heard and experienced, growing up in Mississippi. One reviewer called "Reflections," a poetic autobiography. In so many ways, it absolutely is. There is such a common thread that runs between /among southerners and Mississippians, that my stories and experiences are very much the same as many others. This includes The Rules, Shelling Peas, Slopping Hogs, Hog Killing Time, etc.

Ex: Who were the biggest influences in your poetic endeavors?

Patricia: I think the style of my poetry was most influenced by the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar, a famous African American poet of the early 1900's. Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of my father's favorite poets ,whom he recited to me.
One of his favorite poems that he recited over and over was "When Malindy Sings." We still recite it together sometimes and I often recite it at speaking engagements. So, without any special intention on my part, my poems just seem to have much of the the same type of hoppy rhythm and rhyme of those poems that I heard so much.

Ex: I understand you have a degree in psychology? Did you ever go into that field?

Patricia: I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Boston University, in Boston Massachusetts. After graduation from college, I lived in Memphis, Tennessee and worked in the mental health field for almost 20 years.

Ex: How many poems have you written, and how many have you written, but have not published?

Patricia: I have written hundreds of poems. I think that there are about 72 poems published in "Reflections" and about 100 or so poems in "My Magnolia Memories and Musings." I have many more poems that I have not been published. I continue to write poems all of the time.

Ex: What are your goals for the future?

Patricia: I continue to actively promote my books and my platform of: "Celebrating the South and Promoting a Positive Mississippi." My hope is to be recognized by the governor of our great state, as an official Goodwill Ambassador for the state.
I am always saying that I would love for there to be copies of "Reflections" and "Magnolia Memories" in every home in Mississippi (and beyond). I would love to see "Reflections" and "Magnolia Memories" adopted into the curriculum of many Mississippi schools. Several teachers and classrooms are currently using them now.

Ex: What advice would you give a young person who is interested in poetry or any other writing genre?

Patricia: Believe in your voice in the world. Everyone has a story to tell! Tell your story. Believe in yourself and in your gifts..
Never give up! Read! Read! Read! Write! Write! Write!

Ex: In closing, please leave us with a couple of your favorite poems and tell the readers how to get your poetry and follow your career.

To find out more about me and my books and to read a variety of poems from the books, you can visit my website(s) and
You can purchase my books online from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Also, any local bookstore can/will order them for you..




Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems
" a celebration of the south and things southern"
"Meet Mississippi Through Poetry, Prose and The Written Word"

Be sure to check out the slideshow in this article. It contains more information about Patricia Neely-Dorsey, as well as some of her beautiful poems.

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