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Odessa Maxwell

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Odessa Maxwell, affectionately known as "Odie" by her closest friends, was born in Germany of a Japanese mother and an Air Force Sergeant and father. The family settled in her father's hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Life was not easy in the segregated city and state. Not only did she face racial discrimination and prejudice, she also faced adversity from other family members because of her immediate family's inter-racial culture and family unit. It was a lesson that taught her to embrace both of her beautiful and valued cultures. Consequently, Ms. Maxwell found comfort in her mother's wisdom, encouragement, and guidance as well as the will to succeed.

Even at a young age, she contributed to the community by volunteering at the Louisville Zoo, 4-H, Teen Leaders Care, and creating and donating the most shoebox care packages for the children of Nicaragua. She attended the Academy of Our Lady of Mercy, an all-girls Catholic high school where she lettered at track and field and cross-country. In 1990, she was honored to make her graduating class speech. At 17, Ms. Maxwell was accepted for appointment to the United States Military Academy, Class of 1994 following in the military footsteps of her father. Though it was a mental, academic, and physical challenge, she graduated to be commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army as an Ordnance Maintenance Officer.


She served in numerous positions of increasing responsibility and in various assignments in Germany, Virginia, Maryland, Kansas and District of Columbia. Her career spanned six years Active Duty and 7 years National Guard (MD and DC). She resigned her commission in May 2006 to pursue her writing career, her small business goals, and to care for her three beautiful children. Odessa Maxwell is the author of Thoughts of My Mind, Heart, and Soul.


According to the book description of Thoughts of My Mind, Heart, and Soul, it is “a compilation of poems and photographs that express the mind, heart and soul of the author. Included in the collection is previously published "Brilliant Beautiful Ebony Blue" from anthology "The Best Poems & Poets of 2005". "Beautiful, Woman, Thou Art" was published in 2006 to support the Academy Women Third Annual Symposium theme: Leading on all Fronts. Ms. Maxwell has just been invited to submit to the 2006 International Who's Who in Poetry.”

Thoughts of My Mind, Heart, and Soul
Odessa Maxwell  More Info

One reader of Thoughts of My Mind, Heart, and Soul said, “Welcome Odessa Maxwell! Though she is a woman of remarkable achievements as a human being, a beautiful lady of mixed racial background who has not only survived early racial discrimination but has trumped the deck in sports, in serving in the country's military as a commissioned officer following her successful completion of schooling at West Point, in animal care and competitions, in motherhood, and now in finding a voice that is an unusually welcome one - a poet/photographer who draws on her experiences in the roles usually divided between man and woman, spiritual pacifist and soldier, patriot and philosopher to willingly offer her secrets.


But in the end a book of new work must be judged on its own merits rather than as an homage to a significant human being. And in THOUGHTS OF MY MIND, HEART, AND SOUL Maxwell unveils a voice of quiet simplicity, a form of writing that is still searching for focus, but more importantly a sincere, honest, unabashedly truthful sharing of responses to a world that is most confusing. She writes from the soldier's standpoint the way few others have: few women poets have the service Maxwell has had. Yet these are not poems relegated to patriotic pomp: these are responses from the heart about survival, about caring, about love waning and lost, about need, and about holding tightly to the core of her being.


Accompanying the poems in this, her first book, are examples of her avocation as a photographer. The results are a works as straightforwardly honest in observation as her words and they add to the flow and rhythm of the poems rather than supplying page-filling decor. Critically speaking, Maxwell is more successful when writing in free form rather than rhyming couplets: every poet must try the traditional methods of expression before the particular voice is found. And there is every indication that this will come. One is left at the end of the book with the feeling that a new and special talent is rising: being present at her birthing is a joy.”

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