A Poet with Panache

Poet Mary Jedlicka Humston is an encourager extraordinaire. 

A former high school teacher, Mary graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BA in English Education. She has had over 150 poems and essays published at the local and national level in newspapers, magazines, books, and online. One of her poems was chosen to be projected on the Krakow City of Literature UNESCO Poems on the Wall in 2014. Mary has presented programs on cancer, dealing with chronic illness, prayer, writing, and the Little Free Library movement. She is a member of National League of American Pen Women and The University Club Writers of Iowa City. She lives in Iowa City with her husband Jim.

I first met Mary at the Cedar Falls Christian Writer’s Workshop in 2016, where she was a presenter. She has been such a cheerful encourager for the “Leora stories.”

Leora’s Letters


“Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II by Joy Neal Kidney is an engrossing true story about an Iowa farm family during WW II.

“That Joy Neal Kidney is writing about her own family’s history makes it even more poignant. She includes many of the actual letters that were sent and received between many of her family members during the war.”

Leora’s Dexter Stories

March 2022

“Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression by Joy Neal Kidney was an enlightening read about an Iowa family (Joy’s relatives) in a small town as they navigated through a period in US History that tried the souls and hearts of communities everywhere. Kidney’s short stories give us a glimpse of how one family persevered through challenge after challenge yet retained hope for the future.

“I would highly recommend Leora’s Dexter Stories by Joy Neal Kidney.”

Leora’s Early Years

November 2022

“Really enjoying Leora’s Early Years: Guthrie County Roots by Joy Neal Kidney. The research by Kidney is meticulous and provides a clear background to the life of her grandmother Leora. She adds photos of her Iowa relatives and such detail to acquaint you with her family.

“(Her two other books center on Leora as well: Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss For An Iowa Family During World War II and Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression.

“May you enjoy each book like I have!”

Mary brightens wherever she is. She regularly posts chalk encouragements in their driveway for anyone walking or driving by, as well as those of us who follow her on Facebook.

Mary coauthored a terrific book about letter writing with Mary Potter Kenyon called Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink.


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