Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Poetry Book Reviews: Barbara Harris Leonhard and River Dixon

on November 19, 2022

(Photo by Hayley Maxwell on Unsplash)

Three-Penny Memories: A Poetic Memoir by Barbara Harris Leonhard (2022).

       Available on Amazon.com.

Barbara is a retired English teacher (ESL) whose award-winning work has appeared on Spillwords, MasticadoresUSA, and other poetry sites and magazines. Most recently, her poetry appeared in Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women (2022), edited by Gabriela Marie Milton, and a #1 Amazon Bestseller. She currently serves as the editor of MasticadoresUSA.

Penned with heart-felt love, devotion, and pain, this memoir is an honest family portrait that mirrors both the mother and the daughter. The bond between mother and daughter is complex, but Barbara beautifully describes both the comfortable and uncomfortable sides of this relationship. Anybody who has cared for a parent suffering from Alzheimer’s, will relate to Barbara’s experience. Anybody who has missed out on motherhood and lost a child, will find Barbara’s story deeply moving. But there is no self-pity here. She has written about her life with honesty and compassion. She has experienced trauma and heartbreak. But she accepts what life brings and looks hopefully to the future instead of staying shackled to the past. She presents herself as strong, determined, and willing to learn from life’s lessons. She has written a remarkable collection of poems that are powerful in their very simplicity. Whatever trauma and pain you have endured, her poems will edify and uplift you in a positive way. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

In writing about her miscarried child, she says:

“You left my broken womb

as the bloody remains of what

was never to come. I still feel you

in the waves, the flow

of my sacral river – your tears?

Your fears I’ve abandoned you?

No, Honey. No! I’ll never forget you.”

Finally, her experiences with encephalitis and her mother’s Alzheimer’s:

“Not enough that I am

the spitting image of Mom

and her namesake.

We both experienced

a brain injury. The encephalitis

burned away my young memories;

       Alzheimer’s, her short-term ones.”

Barbara has been nominated for a Pushcart award for her poem, Mom and I Play Lassos with Our Hysterectomy Scars, a deeply provocative and sensitive poem which is included in this collection.

Website: Extraordinary Sunshine Weaver

Lost in the Hours: A Poetry Collection by River Dixon (2020). Available on Amazon.com.

River is a multi-talented poet, fiction writer, and publisher at Potter’s Grove Press. His fiction leans toward the dark side. But his poetry is honest, raw, straight-shooting, and direct. The first thing you come to realize when you read his poems is that River is a realist, not an idealist. There are few hearts and flowers here. He writes with power, intelligence, profound understanding, and articulate expression. He shares a healthy cynicism about life and the world in general. I like his poetry because he says what many of us are only thinking. He’s not afraid to criticize the status quo:

“While you drown in a shallow pool

Of only three inches of self-worth

They taught you well

How to hold your own head under

And convince you of rainbows

While they blot out the stars

One by one . . .”

His works are also available from Potter’s Grove Press, along with other avant-garde authors.

Websites: The Stories In-Between

                 Potter’s Grove Press


Dawn Pisturino

November 19, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


20 responses to “Poetry Book Reviews: Barbara Harris Leonhard and River Dixon

  1. Ingrid says:

    Wonderful to read – thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you, Dawn! Your review was spot on about my story and grief. I appreciate your ‘seeing’ me. Also, to be reviewed right next to River Dixon, whom I follow and admire. How cool is that!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Michele Lee says:

    You truly are incredible, Dawn. In talent and in generosity. I have been enjoying Barbara’s work online and recently ordered her book. Thank you for introducing me to Dixon’s book. May all the goodwill you are sharing come back to you tenfold!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. […] Poetry Book Reviews: Barbara Harris Leonhard and River Dixon […]

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh Dawn my friend, you are such a blessing to those of us who are grateful for such a beautifully composed review that you shared on your site this week and in previous weeks too. 🙏🏼 You did such an amazing job, which is not surprising, as you spotlighted Barbara and River’s books. How FANtabulous!!! The type of support you are giving those of us who have been blessed by your words is so incredibly heartfelt and we thank you for your giving spirit. I know these authors you spotlighted appreciate the exposure. Thank you! Enjoy the rest of your weekend my dear. Cheers! 🥰🥂😘

    Liked by 1 person

  6. River Dixon says:

    Thank you, Dawn, for the review. I’m happy that you found my work to be worth your time to read. In appreciation, this and some of my other titles are available for free at our store (in eBook). Stop by pottersgrovepress.com

    Liked by 2 people

  7. […] Thank you to everyone who has bought and reviewed books in the EIF Kindle Title Sale! Here is the latest review of Three-Penny Memories, from Dawn Pisturino: […]

    Liked by 1 person

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