Wednesday, May 24, 2017

WTF: Poems

Published in 2017, WTF: Poems is a collection of poetry by award-winning poet Laura Foley.  In 2015, I read and reviewed Joy Street by Foley, which is an eclectic, joyful celebration of life.  This book is quite different.  The subject of this collection is Foley's father, William Thomas Foley, whose initials happen to spell W.T.F., a popular, contemporary acronym.  William T.  Foley was a World War II veteran and prisoner of war (POW) for four years in China and Japan, who returned home in 1945.  This book is dedicated to his memory.

When I say this collection of twenty poems is very engaging, I mean it.  It's a short book, and I read it quickly, in one sitting. Then I read it a second time--not just for good measure, but because it's beneficial to read poems twice (or even three or four times), for better understanding.  I felt as if I were reading an intimate memoir by the author. WTF  focuses on the poet's relationship with her father, who's a doctor.  In the title poem, "WTF!", we learn that the luggage and household towels have his initials on them, and that his four daughters are expected to answer the phone like secretaries, "Dr. Foley's Residence".  In the book, the poet is a child, taking it all in, learning all that she can, and eventually she's an adult, with children of her own.

These poems are autobiographical, and take readers on an emotional journey, complete with conflicting feelings, replete with descriptive and unique language.  At times I struggle to decipher the meaning of poems, but these poems are clear and concise, full of accessible imagery and details, such as in the poem, "Family Photograph", "knee-socks uneven/legs scraped from the last dash/across concrete."  As a child, I was often coming home with a new scrape on my knee. These images, as well as others, resonated with me.

There are several remarkable poems in the book that I could have chosen to highlight in this post. Here is one of my favorites.

His Victory

I'm four, playing cards with Dad,
the reward four dollars if I win,
nothing if I lose--and when I do
it's everything,
even the two-dollar fortune I had gained.
For a moment, before escaping
to the shelter of my room,
I see a glimmer in his eyes
of something I won't identify
until decades later.
~ WTF: Poems,  Laura Foley, p. 16

In a  broader sense, WTF is a collection about the survival of both Foleys.  It expresses a myriad of emotions, with words and thoughts that convey honest, real feelings such as anger, jealousy, joy, compassion, and acceptance.  Brimming with memories, these poems are a personal, truthful, and touching tribute to William T. Foley.  This book would be an exceptional collection for those interested in poetry that focuses on World War II, father-daughter relationships, or just beautiful poems that have been written by a very gifted poet.


Many thanks to Serena from Poetic Book Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour.  For additional reviews and features, please visit the other stops on Poetic Book Tour's tour for WTF.  Also be sure to "check out" Serena's Poetry Reading Challenge 2017.

Your comments are genuinely appreciated.  Thank you for reading!


  1. Great commentary on this collection Suko.

    I really like the poem that you posted. Foley seems like she is worth reading.

    I need to read more poetry generally. I will try to read more of her work.

    1. I think you'd enjoy this collection a great deal. Thanks for your comment, Brian Joseph!

  2. The excerpt you chose reminds me of my father. I don't usually read poetry, but this collection sounds appealing to me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Suko.

    1. Pat, I hope you will try reading poetry one of these days. I've really been enjoying it! Thank you for visiting.

  3. Very good review! I love that the poems are about the authors father, and that they are easy to understand.

    1. Vicki, it probably took me about 1/2 an hour to read this (each time)--which surprised me a bit. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment.

  4. Very nice review. I already have a sense of Laura Foley's poems, and her relationship with her father. Thank you!

  5. I'm so glad you enjoyed the collection. She is a gifted poet. Thanks for being on the tour.

    1. Serena, thanks again! She's a talented poet and storyteller.

  6. This sounds like a really touching collection. I love those kind of personal poems. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Great review Susan, I enjoyed this one too. I agree on reading poems over to get a better grasp on them. Great post!

  8. An amazing collection of poems in honor of her father's war experiences. Experience recalled through poetry. Nice review!

  9. An amazing collection of poems in honor of her father's war experiences. Experience recalled through poetry. Nice review!

  10. I am not a huge fan of poetry as I get older, really enjoyed it when I was younger. I think with the background of this and the wee taster it is certainly worth checking out. Thanks for sharing xxx


  11. I really need to read more poetry. This sounds like an enjoyable collection - something that would really make me think.


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