Mona Lisa Saloy
Truman State University Press
Mona Lisa Saloy

New Discovery: Mona Lisa Saloy

True story.

My intern buddy and I were asked to write book blurbs yesterday. One of the books was a new collection of poems by Mona Lisa Saloy called Second Line Home. Neither of us had ever read anything by her before, so we were given the manuscript and an earlier collection published by the press called Red Beans and Ricely Yours.

Seriously. Get it. That collection should be on a required reading list for human beings.

I read the first two lines of the first poem in the book and my head exploded. . . .

My buddy and I literally sat in our little intern-corner for hours reading her poetry, ooh-ing and ahh-ing and drooling (metaphorically) all over the pages. This woman is the hottest thing since sliced bread, and now I’m on a mad quest to discover if the press has any “hurt books” they can give to me for free so I can take them home and love them forever.

I am in awe.
If I was in her presence I might actually swoon.
Hopefully someone would be around to catch me.
If not though, that’d still be okay.

Just wanted you to know.

In Second Line Home, poet Mona Lisa Saloy captures the spirit and cadence of New Orleans. The book is at once a haunting poetic narrative of the horror of Hurricane Katrina and an uplifting, healing song of personal and collective resilience. Saloy tells of muck, stink, doors swollen with water, despair, and bottled-up hurt, while finding hope, sustenance, and solace in familial love, spirituality, and the Creole cultural traditions that nurtured her. Saloy's artistry is particularly evident in her use of metaphors: "Broke his heart in half like a walnut split down the middle." And she seasons her aesthetic with Creole vernacularisms such as hucklebucks (frozen drinks) and meliton (mirliton). And naturally, there is the inevitable remix of pulsating music for which the city is famous: Johnny Adams, Fats Domino, and Alan Toussaint. This is a collection of poems that must be read!


—Tony Bolden


Mona Lisa Saloy is a poet whose words give us shelter. A poet who has

feeding us always on her mind. Keep your starched white dinner

napkins, for another kind of meal and for guests that eat in a hurry.

Bring your hunger for family that still kisses each other at the open door

and memory that knows the storm will end and the sun will rise again.