The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

M.A.M.A. Issue 28: Rajaa Paixão and Gwen North Reiss








The ProCreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 28th edition of this scholarly discourse, in which art and words intersect  to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA

Art by Rajaa Paixão


Visit ProCreate Project for more work by this artist.






Poetry by Gwen North Reiss


Like Dorothy you imagine
that someone will give you,
will have the power to
grant, I think was the word,
what you most want,
one thing that was so clear
when you started out
before you met all of these others,
before the dog met all of these others
who also searched for one thing.
You know the list, a heart,
courage, a nervous system etc.,
a way to get back to Point A.
The shoes were key—
the ones worn for a while
by an evil one and now irreversibly
yours because of the violent way you came
into this world, with feet,
fully formed. You were a bit rumpled,
and so serious, staring—
What an entrance! —
while others giggled and cooed
and asked who must you be.
You knew all along, but you had
to tell them in so many words,
reminding them at every turn
when you started walking,
when you reached the city,
and discovered the truth
about the great one.
By then they knew you well
enough to help you explain.
And you knew what they wanted
and knew what you would miss
about each one of them
when you left—or got back
whichever it was.
The day wishes were handed out like prizes
the great and powerful disappeared
in an instant, waving and yelling97
about accident and miscalculation,
which tipped you off to the sobering news
that you would have to do the rest yourself.
Not the cyclone this time,
but a letting go—colors reverting
to black and white, the memory
of faces you loved,
a hand on your brow.

Originally published in Mom Egg Review Vol. 15, 2017

Gwen North Reiss – Pen and Brush recently published a group of Reiss’s poems called “Paper Aperture” as part of their e-publication program. She studied poetry at the 92nd Street Y and was the recipient, in 2012, of the Unterberg Poetry Center’s Rachel Wetzsteon Prize. She has a degree in Literature from Yale and works as a writer and communications consultant.


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