The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Books for Review

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Mom Egg Review Books for Review – Summer, 2019

Our book reviews are approximately 750 words, and are published online at momeggreview.com. 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 MERreviews@gmail.com.

FICTION

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. https://unmpress.com/books/take-daily-needed/9780826360960

 

NON-FICTION; MEMOIR

We Got This, Domenica Ruta, Ed. She Writes Press,2019.  In We Got This, seventy-five solo mom writers tell the truth about their lives―their hopes and fears, their resilience and setbacks, their embarrassments and triumphs. Some of these writers’ names will sound familiar, like Amy Poehler, Anne Lamott, and Elizabeth Alexander, while others are about to become unforgettable. Bound together by their strength, pride, and―most of all― their dedication to their children, they broadcast a universal and empowering message: You are not alone, solo moms―and your tenacity, courage, and fierce love are worthy of celebration.

POETRY

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.

The Book of Kells by Barbara Crooker Barbara Crooker’s eighth book of poetry, The Book of Kells, focuses on the illuminated medieval manuscript with a series of meditations on its various aspects, from the ink and pigments used by the scribes and illustrators to the various plants, animals, and figures depicted on its pages, including the punctuation and use of decoration in the capital letters. It also contains poems on the flora and fauna of Ireland (swans, hares, magpies, fuchsia, gorse, crocosmia, etc.)

Why I Never Finished My Dissertation by Laura Foley (Headmistress Press 2019) This collection’s title perfectly evokes Foley’s sly, dry, often self-implicating sense of humor, as well as the propensity for distraction, adventure—and independence—appraising, and subverting societal expectations. We begin with mindful presence and mystery, then flashback to the speaker’s childhood, early motherhood, and previous marriages, one as a teenager to a Moroccan Muslim, then to a professor forty years her senior, father of her three children. She navigates caring for her special-needs daughter and mentally ill sister; and she and her beloved wife become grandmothers, just as politics and citizenship become personal.

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.

Counting by Sevens by Ann Wallace, Main St. Rag 2019 In Counting by Sevens I reflect on the overlay of embodied experiences of illness, mothering, teaching, and the everyday realities and traumas of living in the United States today. Divided into three sections, the collection begins with intimate responses to the pains and wounds of our nation, then shifts to a meditative, often joyful, interlude on girlhood and motherhood, and concludes with a series of poems that probe into what it feels like to live with and through diseases—ovarian cancer in my twenties, and multiple sclerosis in the past decade–that overwhelm at times and slip from notice at others.

 

 

 

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