About Kathleen Ripley Leo
Kathleen Ripley Leo
Photo by Richard Tikiob

The Circle is AssembledThe Old Ways

Town One South

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Detroit Working Writers

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This collection of twelve poems was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. These well wrought poems epitomize those particular moments learning the world's secrets, and honor the ancestors who carried their old ways into the new land of America. The landscape and location of childhood is created.

Critical Acclaim:

"The poems in Kathleen Leo's THE OLD WAYS ring true to life; crammed with child-like wonder and adult advice, these carefully shaped memories have been made only wiser by time."

Stuart Dybek

"Like an archaeologist unearthing a buried city or a diver recovering bright treasures from wrecks, Leo breaks through the layers of contemporary life to reclaim the lost world of memory; her story-poems bring back, for us, the particular gleaming moments of a child first learning the world's secrets, and honor the ancestors who carried their old ways into the new land of America."

Judith McCombs

"I think THE OLD WAYS is masterfully done. It ranges, in feeling and in execution, from excellent to brilliant. And in this book Kathleen Leo enhances the American tradition of reporting images, of glancing off surfaces -- we get in William Carlos Williams and Charles Reznicoff -- until the facts of those images reveal their own power and the passions behind them."

Lawrence Pike

  Excerpt from II:

We children perched on angel-legged iron benches
under an oil painting of white callas and silver candelabra.
Our card tables were enveloped in white linen
as if a second skin wrapped us tight.
We listened to the adults at the mahogany table,
to their mutterings, their shouts,
their slips of the tongue into English
when their language was not enough.
We gaped as their fists jabbed the air,
or pounded and pooled on the table.
Chins jutted from white collared necks.
Women's voices slit men's low growls.
A violin in the background tore the landscape apart.
Tuya pravda. They were unbeatable........

Kathleen Ripley Leo
Copyright 1995

  Excerpt from IV.

My grandmother's hands could sculpt ponczke,
chisel mountains of dough and slap out
small circles for pierogis. She flattened
huge sheets for noodles and cooked great
pans of borscht and czarnina on the kitchen stove,
wrung the necks of fat hens,
sliced noodles, tender nipples of dough.
She drew up her flour to a tall cone,
funneled it with eggs and salty water,
gathered into the dough, and like an ocean wave, she kneaded it
back and forth, her arms and shape given up to it.
She taught me to roll up half dried sheets of dough
after they hung like crisp linens over front room chairs.
Each day she make it fresh, folded it up fat and long,
took her knife and sliced it into pieces for the soup.

Kathleen Ripley Leo
Copyright 1995

Sun Dog Press
Available from Sun Dog Press: sundogpr@voyager.net $9.00 includes shipping.

Sun Dog Press
432 N. Center Suite 3
Northville, MI 48l67

Contact Ms. Leo