The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Books for Review


Mom Egg Review Books for Review – Summer, 2019

Our book reviews are approximately 750 words, and are published online at Please refer to our Book Review Guidelines for more information.

If you’re interested in reviewing one of the books below, or another book that fits our parameters, please email us at


Take Daily as Needed: A Novel in Stories by Kathryn Trueblood (UNM 2019). In these connected stories, Maeve is a single mother attempting to navigate both her own diagnosis of Crohn’s disease and the medical and behavioral concerns of her two children. With desperate humor, Maeve takes on the challenges of motherhood and daughterhood, as she cares for her aging parents and wonders how everyone in her family became so heavily medicated.





Poetry Chapbooks

Stray Harbor by Rage Hezekiah (FLP,  2019) Poetry Chapbook. Stray Harbor reflects the balance between feeling lost and feeling safe; exploring themes of identity, family, and sexuality in the natural world.

Sex and Other Slapsticks by Ellaraine Lockie Poetry Chapbook. Ellaraine Lockie’s latest poetry collection, Sex and Other Slapsticks, is a journey of discovery and rediscovery. It is a production of every-day drama of the ordinary made extraordinary, interlaced with wry humor. This is an itinerary of geographics of body and place with many surprising twists and turns.

Defining, by Tasslyn Magnusson (dancing girl press 2019). Poetry chapbook. Defining is a collection of poems that examine the trauma of childhood sexual abuse and the struggle to redefine the truth of one’s self. Using a dictionary definition-like format to the majority of poems, each poem deconstructs a word to reveal a part of the narrator’s story of abuse and how they will reclaim the meaning of the words as they define their own truth. The format is designed to pare truth to the bare bones of structure, while at the same time provide a means of distance for the reader.

One Cupped Hand Above the Other by Ana C.H. Silva (Dancing Girl Press, 2019) poetry chapbook. One Cupped Hand Above the Other takes its name from the subtle energy the poet felt in her hands doing Tai chi for the first time. Similarly, many of the poems in her collection observe the “immense but slender” things; the feel of sun and wind and soil on skin, a special yellow worn in East Harlem, finding a room of theatre seats in the back of a dollar store. Many of the poems craft responses to her experiences and thoughts on love, hope, loss, desire, death, and imagination.

Poetry (full-length)

Mercy by Shirley Camia (Turnstone Press 2019) is Shirley Camia’s fourth collection of poetry, launched this month. The book offers a raw, intimate glimpse into Camia’s journey through seasons of bereavement following her mother’s death, taking readers from the wake to the graveside, and into a year of processing, searching, and healing.

The Fuss and the Fury by Marion Cohen (Alien Buddha Press). Poetry. This collection is about the approximately seven years after the birth of her youngest baby, and is intended as a description of the ecstasies and Angsts of that post-partum experience. Devin’s birth was special in several ways: first, she was over 40 with a 16-year-old daughter; second, the baby’s father was 8 years into his multiple sclerosis diagnosis and had been a wheelchair user when the baby was conceived; third, Devin was the “second subsequent child”, meaning he was the second child to be born after a devastating pregnancy loss.

Dear Terror Dear Splendor, by Melissa Crowe (U. Wisconsin Press 2019) PoetryThis intimate collection traces the speaker’s biography from a wild and impoverished rural childhood through tender and frightening adulthood. In poems that are epistolary in tone and gritty in texture, Melissa Crowe reckons with the pain and buoyant beauty of survival, marriage, parenthood, and letting go. These poems embrace the dangers and rewards of loving fiercely in a gorgeous, terrifying world.

Taking Care of Time by Cortney Davis (Michigan State University Press, 2019). For poet and nurse practitioner Cortney Davis, the truth revealed through poetry is similar to what she has experienced in the heightened and urgent dramas that occur in health care―those suspended moments in which a dying heart might be revived or unbearable suffering relieved…Davis shines a caregiver’s light on the most intimate details of the human body and the spirit within—how the flesh might betray, how it endures, and how ultimately it triumphs.

Book of Minutes, by Gemma Gorga, translated from Catalan by Sharon Dolin (Oberlin Press) Prose poetry. Imagine a book of hours condensed into a book of minutes: that is the project of the compact lyrical prose poems found in Gemma Gorga’s Book of Minutes, the first English-language translation of this emerging poet, widely known and loved in her native Catalonia yet little known outside it. Gemma Gorga’s Book of Minutes, in Sharon Dolin’s beautiful translation, is by far the best book of prose poems I have read in the past decade. Like a house mirror, each prose poem here “retains the memory of all the souls who have gazed at themselves inside it.” The result is spellbinding and surprising, as the voice of these poems searches for the mystery within the mundane.—Ilya Kaminsky

Twilight Chorus by Holly Guran (Main St. Rag, May 2018). Holly Guran’s poems expose a remarkable thoughtfulness and care for what takes place in nature, and for what takes place with others:  whether the homeless man, the child affected by war, the aging partner, the neighbor, the friend.

In Relation to the Surface by M.B. Powell (Kelsay Books, 2019). “In Relation to the Surface is a collection that highlights quiet female struggles beneath cool exteriors.  Girls and women populate these poems—Shirley Temple, Ovid’s Daphne, Mrs. America, widows, and dolls with ‘their hard little eyes.’”   —Paige Riehl, author of Suspension (Terrapin Books, 2018), Poetry Editor of Midway Journal

to cleave by Barbara Rockman (UNM Press 2019). In these poems, as the speaker’s children grow and leave home and her marriage is stretched thin by the years, she seeks meaning beyond the roles of wife and mother that have defined and confined her.

Patterns: Moments in Time by Carol Smallwood (Word Poetry).  “We do not remember days; we remember moments” Anonymous. This, along with Amy Lowell’s, “What are patterns for?” have come together in this poetry collection—connecting dots of moments and patterns through free verse and formal poetry.

Fool by Judy Swann (Kelsay Books, 2019). (These poems) … concern the poetics and politics of labor — both the workday kind and the childbirth kind — and negotiations with the body, the past, men, moons, and muses.





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