Apr 16, 2021

Why I Never Finished My Dissertation by Laura Foley: Poetry Book Tour

 Laura Foley, author of WHY I NEVER FINISHED MY DISSERTATION, on tour April 2021

Why I Never Finished My Dissertation

Publisher : Headmistress Press (August 18, 2019) Paperback : 108 pages

Named one of seven Best Indie Poetry Books of 2019 by Kirkus.

Foley’s writing may appear sparse and reserved but it harbors a subtle power. The poet’s greatest strength is her acute sense of observation. She possesses the ability to thread sensuousness into the fabric of everyday life. . .This is a dazzling volume of poetry that delights in crisp imagery and tender recollections.
—Kirkus Reviews


The poems in this collection covers the story of the poet's life, from her young teens through adulthood, two marriages, and many travels. It also praises nature and its soothing effects. 

One of the themes in the poetry is of the calming stillness of nature versus the foolishness of men. ("What Stillness") Scaling a mountain, she finds Nature brings things together for her, reveals who she is. (Fractalization") The oneness of nature and finding beauty even in harsh death, when all returns to the earth. ("Tulips") The power of nature to reveal the self ("Fork")

"I note the flash 

of a yellow-feathered finch,

the glint of sun,

a dove's underbelly,

soft with reflected light,

as it glides, bending left -

as a chill wind begins, 

stripping me of pretense." (Fork")

Family life is very prominent in the poems, from the conception and birth of her daughter, her daughter growing up and living far away from her, and later missing her presence. 

The poet's husband and her later second marriage to Clara features in the poems prominently. Her first marriage to a professor almost forty years her senior, reveals  "emotional manipulation, power wheel of privilege."  

"I don't wish to accuse him now,

so long gone, but I see anew,

in my move away from him,

the smile I couldn't erase, 

even at his death, 

said everything I'm learning now. ("The Smile")

"Visiting My Sister in the Mental Ward" is revealing. She also meditates on deaths in the family, events that make her ponder about daily life. 

She relates as a Grandmother and a grandmother's presence at the birth of children and their place in the family.

I didn't read the news.

I raked a rainbow

of pungent autumn leaves,

played abroad with happy dogs,

held my granddaughter in my arms,

and sat beneath an amiable maple,

attentive to current events.  ("One Day")   

Vignettes of family life, a new marriage, being a grandmother, all are revealed in the this brief poetic film of the writer's life. 

I enjoyed reading "Why I Never Finished My Dissertation" tremendously, the poet's relation to nature, her reflections on her life and marriages, her parents, her daughter and grandchild. At the end of the book of poems the poet sings the praises of life in "Gratitude List," where daily things are appreciated, like sleeping late, the midnight storm, the morning swim, green tea with honey, her food, the reeds, and "the sand between our toes."                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

About Laura Foley

Laura Foley is the author of six poetry collections, including Joy Street, Syringa and Night Ringing. Her poem “Gratitude List” won the Common Good Books poetry contest and was read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. Her poem “Nine Ways of Looking at Light” won the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest, judged by Marge Piercy. For more information on Laura’s work, please visit her website

Laura Foley’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, April 5th: Welcome to Nurse Bookie

Wednesday, April 7th: A Bookish Way of Life

Thursday, April 8th: @megsbookclub

Friday, April 9th: Openly Bookish

Monday, April 12th: Eliot’s Eats

Tuesday, April 13th: Savvy Verse and Wit

Wednesday, April 14th: 5 Minutes for Books

Thursday, April 15th: Kahakai Kitchen

Friday, April 16th: Book Dilettante

Monday, April 19th: Seaside Book Nook – excerpt

Tuesday, April 20th: Lit and Life

Wednesday, April 21st: @babygotbooks4life

Thursday, April 22nd: @emzi.reads

Friday, April 23rd: @pages.for.sanity

Purchase Links

Headmistress Press | Amazon


  1. I would love to read this book of poems. Thanks for the excerpt.

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed this! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  3. I enjoyed this one as well! It's always interesting to see other reviewers' takeaways. I'm pulling the book back out now to re-read the poems you mentioned.


I appreciate your comments and thoughts...

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