NC Literary Hall of Fame



Languid Lusciousness with Lemon by Joan Leotta

Finishing Line Press
$14.99, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-635341454
February, 2017
Available from your local bookstore or

"In Languid Lusciousness with Lemon, Joan Leotta’s poems balance the sugar and salt of our existence with a dash of humor: 'Life’s sweetness stands out, / oft best preserved / when accented with tart,' ever evoking food, family and T.S. Eliot’s 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,' especially the peaches of that famous poem. Memories of apple picking, Fourth of July picnics, and oysters bring the author’s family together across time and distance: 'By the time plates are empty, hearts are full. / Long after the sweetness of dessert is a memory.' After savoring Leotta’s collection, you may experience your own special food memories and remember, 'Everyone hears when called to table.'”
—Alice Osborn, award winning poet, author of Heroes without Capes

"'Everyone hears / when called to the table,' Joan Leotta writes in her latest collection, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon. The title itself is a call to the table of lush language and insight that melds family and food. In this chapbook, Leotta serves up a feast of poems that explore our deep connections—to each other, to the food we carefully choose and prepare, to what nourishes and sustains us. 'Life’s sweetness stands out, / oft best preserved / when accented with tart,' she writes in the title poem. You’ll find both the sweet and the tart along with a myriad of other more subtle flavors, so, come to the table, have a poem; have another, and fill yourself. These poems will leave you sated."
—Pat Riviere-Seel, award winning poet and teacher of poetry

Joan Leotta has been playing with words on page and stage since her childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her first work published in a national magazine came at age fourteen-a poem in the Horn Book Magazine. Since then she has followed several career paths, turning to a dual career in writing and story performance as a stay-at-home Mom in the 1980s.

As a writer, Joan is a journalist, novelist, essayist, poet, and playwright. Over the years, she has written on parenting, storytelling, and food among other topics, for local newspapers and local and national magazines wherever she has lived. Since moving to North Carolina twelve years ago, she shifted her focus to fiction and poetry.

Joan's Italian heritage is evident in the poems in this book and in most of her other writing. Her four historical novels from Desert Breeze publishing, The Legacy of Honor series, feature strong Italian-American women, food and family, during times of war. Joan's poems and picture books also celebrate food and family. Her poetry and essays appear in or are forthcoming in Gnarled Oak, Red Wolf, A Quiet Courage, the A-3 Review, Hobart Literary Review, Silver Birch, Postcard Poems and Prose among others.

She has always considered writing for children as a high calling, and in the past two years, THEAQLLC has published four of her picture books: Whoosh!, Summer in a Bowl, Rosa and the Red Apron, and Rosa's Shell.

Joan performs folk tales in schools, museums, and festivals for children and adults. Her love for history comes out in performance of two different one-woman shows, one that depicts a strong woman in the Civil War era and another that shows life on the home front during the American Revolution.

Her tagline, "encouraging words through pen and performance" expresses a challenge to herself in her writing and stage work meaning that she wants to inspire the creativity of others with her work. To this end, she often gives classes to help others learn to tap into their creativity to express their thoughts on page and or stage.

When she is not chained to her computer, writing, you can find Joan walking on the beach, in the kitchen working on new recipes, or traveling with her husband, Joe, and daughter, Jennie. You can reach her with comments, or to request a class or performance, though her blog site at and Joan Leotta, Author and Story Performer on Facebook.

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