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


"Good Afternoon, Mr. Thornton.     Thank you again for your wonderful presentation yesterday!  The kids loved it!...Sincerely,"  Arlene Larsen, English Teacher, Hempstead High School, 4/24/18


"Dear Leon: Thank you...It was a wonderful experience having you come to Hempstead High School and I am so glad I was able to be there.  I can see your family's perspective and although it may not have been what was intended, it was very special."  Rita Kaabe, School Library Media Specialist, Hempstead High School, 4/25/18

Announce coming events

Leon Thornton, Jr. returned to Hempstead High School for a poetry recital/workshop.


  • Date & Time:  Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 12:20PM - 1:45PM.
  • Location: 201 President Street, Hempstead, NY 11550.

It felt great to give back to my alma mater and interact with administration, teachers and students.  I thought I would encourage and inspire the students -- but instead they nourished my soul with enthusiasm, intelligence, and inspiration.  I listened to and read moving poetry from talented young minds, such as Carlos, Natalia R., Junior B., and Dennis P.  Here's a picture of me with one of the young poets, "big dude" Latrell Adkins of Hempstead High School.

Thank you, Mr. Angel Perez, the Director of Fine Arts, Music and Library Media; Ms. Rita Kaabe, School Library Media Specialist; English Teachers Arlene Larsen and Cara Franchino; and HHS students!   

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


"Good morning Mr. Thornton!     Thank you so much for your kind words.  I read my students your email and they were so excited that not only did you write us, but that you were able to remember them by name...The students were so engaged, and genuinely got so much from your words- you reached them.  Thank you for visiting, and thank you for being a genuine role model.  I hope that this visit was not your last to Hempstead.  Best,"  Cara Franchino, English Teacher, Hempstead High School, 4/26/18

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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.


Words, Wine & Wings 3:  7 Poets, 7 Perspectives, 7 Creative Voices on display Sunday, April 8, 2018 @ 6-8PM EST.  

Come show your love and support of poetry!  Tickets are limited, so purchase your tickets now via Eventbrite or  


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:

Share the big news!

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.

Past Events

Writers and Words

  • Tuesday, May 9, 2017 @ 7:00pm - "Writers and Words" at Charmington's in Baltimore, Maryland

Interview on First Edition with Sean Yoes

Vocal Expression Blog

BMG Member Showcase

  • 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.

MWA at Baltimore Book Festival

  • Friday, September 22 @ 11:00AM-3:00PM at the Baltimore Book Festival.   Other Maryland Writers' Association (MWA) members and I sold our books and MWA literature at the Baltimore Harbor.

Hempstead High Poetry Recital/Presentation

  • Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 12:20PM - 1:45PM at Hempstead High School, 201 President Street, Hempstead, NY 11550.  It felt great to give back to my alma mater and interact with administration, teachers and students.  I thought I would encourage and motivate the students, but instead they nourished my soul with humor, enthusiasm, intelligence and inspiration.

The Shadows of My Soul


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