Thornton's Poetry

The Shadows of My Soul

About the Author and Book


Leon Thornton Jr.’s exposure to poetry began at the age of 11, when a teacher recommended his mother enroll him in a reading club to improve his comprehension.  His subsequent love of poetry became his outlet to cope with pain in his life, including witnessing his father’s alcoholism, his uncle’s drug addiction and resulting death, and his near death experience after his body almost succumbed to diabetes.  Thornton’s writings about these dark times in his life as well as the darkness in world events, friends’ lives and his general observations of everyday circumstances are shared in his first book, The Shadows of My Soul.  He credits sports and writing poetry as the catharses that helped him release and move past his emotional pain.  Thornton lives with his wife, two sons, and mother-in-law in Maryland.


The poems in The Shadows of My Soul take readers to the dark places as seen through the eyes of poet Leon Thornton, Jr. during his youth.  Thornton’s shadows are both personal and impersonal.  They include his own as well as family and friends’ experiences.  It also includes those of strangers and dark historical events, like the European invasion of African countries and the Holocaust.  His poems are disturbing, stark and raw, and use metaphorical references and descriptive imagery to detail the evil in man, nature, life and love.  In one of his poems he describes heartbreak as “… She sliced and tore open my chest! -- Then stole my heart like a phantom in the night!”  Another poem describes a homeless man, “…He resembles a skeletal ghost who dances drunkenly in the street…Mother ------, mechanical wimps!  You can’t kill me anyway, ‘cause I’m [already] dead.”  Thornton’s book is both an open window into the past “shadows in his soul,” but also the shadows in the minds of others and in the world at large.

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Real Testimonials

"The Shadows Of My Soul is a brutally honest, but beautifully crafted piece of literary work.   The poems are frank yet sincere, evoking an [array] of connect with certain poems as you are able to see yourself right in the midst of the experience....Some of my favorites include Ship-A-Comin’, Weeping Willow, The Sun Sets on Many Hearts, River of Lights...As you get a glimpse into the soul of Leon, you can’t help but take an inward tour of your own." Davenia Lea, author of Naked and Unashamed

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Real Testimonials

"I was treated to a new artist with so much energy and verve that my passion for the live reading craft is once again re-ignited.  After I heard Leon Thornton reading She is Not My Wife, two things struck me:  first, this man is a brilliant orator.  Second: He has the guts and grit to admit that even happily married individuals can fall prey to subtle, adulterous motions of the heart."  Stephanie Sarwal, Poet and Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts (WALA), Publishing Sub Committee Chairperson

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Reading at Writers & Words

Leon and Cherrie Woods, PR Consultant and author of "Where Do I Start? 10 PR Questions and Answers to Guide Self-Published Authors", pose for a pic during Writers & Words Reading Series on May 9, 2017.

Event Organizers: Michael Taeger and Maria Goodson. Emcee: Cija Jefferson.

Past events

Cherrie Woods, PR Consultant at, scheduled the following events for me:

  1. Tuesday, May 9, 2017 @ 7:00pm - "Writers and Words" at Charmington's in Baltimore, Maryland
  2. Monday, May 15, 2017 @ 6:00pm - Radio interview on "First Edition with Sean Yoes" on WEAA 88.9 radio show at Morgan State University.  Go to and click on First Edition May 15, 2017. Hour Two.
  3. Monday, July 3, 2017 feature in the Vocal Expressions blog.
  4. Saturday, September 02, 2017 @ 1:00pm - 3:00pm for the "BMG Member Showcase".  This event is sponsored by the literary association, Black Writers' Guild of MD.  Event location:  Enoch Pratt Library, 4330 Edmondson Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21229.
  5. Friday, September 22 @ 11:00AM-3:00PM at the Baltimore Book Festival


A man needs a good woman, family and friends by his side...I consider myself very lucky!

Reading at Words, Wine & Wings

Words, Wine & Wings poetry event was a HUGE SUCCESS!  Thank you Jay of NuBohemia Cafe, Rodney Bellamy, sponsors, and the friendly audience for making the night fun and enjoyable!  I was proud to be a featured poet and share the stage with Brenda Bunting, Hanalyn, Cherrie Amour, and Buddah Desmond!  Please view the website below:

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Leon looks stiff with Sean Yoes, host of First Edition on WEAA 88.9FM on May 15th.  Thanks to Sean and Iyore, Producer!

2017 Baltimore Book Festival

Photo with Kari Martindale, fellow member of MWA and author of "Flash!", a children's book.

The Shadows of My Soul


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Thornton's Poetry