Poetry of loss, irony, love, memory, and geography, with honesty, humor, sensuality and playfulness of language — these are modern poems which are not the garden variety — Reis has an experienced voice.
“Donna Reis’ gift for mapping the irony, hurt, love and loss of her geography is given its best expression in TOROHILL. Firmly rooted in the real, the collection is ever mindful of the unseen, the super real presiding over human frailty, knowing [we could be taken] at any moment, and . . . the stars wouldn’t say a word. And while deer, fox, owls, and coyotes inhabit the woods and fields of the ancestral farm that lends the book its title, they are out-numbered by ghosts that walk in soft swales of lawn where No one notices you let yourself in—[as you follow] the sound of a radio broadcasting in an office—FDR? Even the poet’s ghost is here—hit by a car at the base of the driveway at seventeen. Is the location of Reis’ life-defining auto accident at the foot of the drive to her future husband’s home unimaginable coincidence or illusion? It is Real! as is the brilliance of the words on the page, imbued with Reis’ characteristic wit, that give order in Torohill to life’s seemingly unassuageable tragedy.” ―Janet Hamill
“Each poem in this well-wrought collection acts as a memory-crumb in a trail through a landscape of leave-takings; sadly, the trail ends in a series of beautifully restrained poems about the death of Reis’ husband. While the predominant theme may be loss, Reis’ sense of humor and her playfulness with language fill the poems with life.” —Teresa Carson
“‘Make it honest,’ a poetry teacher once urged, and Donna Reis’ poems perfectly embody both the honesty and the making of this imperative. Out of wreck and ruin, out of the breaks and pains that constitute the tragic comedy of our ordinary lives, Reis crafts poems of extraordinary tenderness and resilience, which are grounded in an abiding love. These are poems made to savor and to share.” —Jeanne Marie Beaumont
Author Website Review @ North of Oxford
Donna Reis is the author of two full length poetry collections: Torohill (Deerbrook Editions, 2022) and NO PASSING ZONE (Deerbrook Editions, 2012), which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is co-editor and contributor to the anthology, Blues for Bill: A Tribute to William Matthews (The University of Akron Press, 2005). Her non-fiction book, Seeking Ghosts in the Warwick Valley: 60 Personal Accounts (Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2003) has sold nearly 3000 copies. She has written three poetry chapbooks: Certain (Finishing Line Press, 2012); Dog Shows and Church: A Sequence of Poems (2000) and Incantations (1995) both published by Eurydice Press. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including Atlanta Review, Cimarron Review, and Delmarva Review. Reis has been published in more than ten anthologies, most recently CAPS Poetry 2020: 20th Anniversary (Caps Press, 2020); Coffee Poems, Reflections on Life with Coffee (World Enough Writers, 2019); Local News: Poetry about Small Towns (MWPH Books, 2019). She received her Master of Science Degree in Education from Hunter College, The City University of New York, in 1986. A student of the late William Matthews, she completed her Master of Arts Degree in Creative Writing at The City College, City University of New York, in 2002. Reis was born in Greenwich, Connecticut and grew up in Greenwood Lake, New York. She was married to the late musician and composer, Tom Miller. She has taught poetry workshops at The Northeast Poetry Center, College of Poetry and the Albert Wisner library in Warwick, New York. She is an avid quilter and now lives in New York's Hudson Valley