Kindra M. Austin’s Review of When the Banshee Howls

In When the Banshee Howls, John W. Leys employs his life experiences and erudition to create an immersive milieu. The lingering effects have swelled my admiration for Leys as a poet, and as a human connected to his faith. This volume is a stunning dedication to his friend, Rabbi Joel Wasser. The reverential tone is unswerving and sincere; there is nothing ostentatious about his verses. He simply presents thought provoking themes, challenging us to open up and explore. 

“What is man

That you should take notice of him,

A son of man

That you should be concerned with him,

Elevating him far above

The other beasts of the field”

            —from A Psalm of Eliyahu HaMeshorer

When the Banshee Howls is also a tribute to Leys’ loved ones, moved on. The title poem is my favorite. It’s haunting and brilliantly composed. It strikes all my chords; I can feel his memories. That is the mark of an intuitive writer. 

“I heard the banshee

Wailing in the distance,

Echoing in the valley,

Weeping among the

Rose covered hills of Montrose.

The bagpipes whisper a dirge,

Drifting from Angus

To the Highlands,

Welcoming another soul

Coming home.” 

            —from When the Banshee Howls

John W. Leys is an intelligent, thoughtful poet, and he constantly impresses me. His growth is evident in each book he writes. He is classic, and When the Banshee Howls is a triumph—hands down the best of his best. 

Kindra M. Austin, author of Little Book of Blackness

When the Banshee Howls and other poems is now available for pre-order and will be released on 22 November 22. Click here for ordering links