The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Books for Review

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Mom Egg Review Books for Review – Fall 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

The End of Aphrodite by Laurette Folk (Bordighera Press 2019)

The End of Aphrodite explores the relationship between artist and muse, between the subjects of myths and the keepers of them. This is a beautifully rendered work narrated by a collection of characters whose faith is inspired by the beauty of art, the power of the ocean, the remnants of ancient religions, and the many mutations of love. When the unimaginable occurs and those beliefs are tested, Laurette Folk challenges us all to wonder who will be charged with remembering us? What sense of adoration, or guilt, or duty, preserves in survivors the stories that need to be saved? – Carla Panciera, author of Beloved: Stories, winner of the Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

NON-FICTION; MEMOIR

POETRY

Poetry Chapbooks

Glory to All Fleeting Things by S. Erin Baptiste (Backbone Press; winner of the 2018 Chapbook Award). Winner of the inaugural Backbone Press Chapbook Award, S. Erin Batiste, writes with a depth and poignancy and vast array of explosions that highlight the landscape of this collection with “velvety midnight spirit” and “ferocious stars” that can’t be denied.

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.

Poetry (full-length)

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.

Frozen Charlotte by Susan de Sola – (Able Muse Press, 2019) The title poem refers to a ceramic doll with was a popular toy for children in the 19th-century. I am myself the mother of 5 children, so the subject of maternity threads through the book.  The book deals with many aspects of maternal experience–from being a daughter looking through her war widow mother’s cedar closet, to losing an infant, to visiting the grave of a little boy who passed away decades before, to the experience of raising twins, to the inventory of a teenage son’s dresser top.

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.

Birthdays Before and After by Puma Perl (Beyond Baroque Books 2019) “To the edgy, illustrious ranks of poets like Diane DiPrima and Charles Bukowski, let us now add the fearless, delirious genius of Puma Perl. Long a cult legend and staple of the Lower East Side poetry scene, with “Birthdays Before and After,” she steps forward and cements her place as 21st Century visionary and unsparing chronicler of the human condition…”

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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