The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

M.A.M.A. Issue 39 – Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor, Art, and Kimberly L. Becker, Poetry

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M.A.M.A. Issue 39 –

Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor Muttererde (2017) Video and Kimberly L. Becker – “Language Class”

 

Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor 

Muttererde (2017) Video

Muttererde profiles conversations with five black femmes on the knowledge and non-knowledge of their mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers and as far back as the knowledge carries them to create a rich and powerful archive on ancestry.  They explore themes of motherhood, migration, cultural differences, beauty standards, queerness, kinship, death and rebirth. Their stories, although from five different countries, intertwine to weave a tapestry of herstory through the African diaspora. Through their testimonies, the viewer discovers that ritual, memory and oral history can challenge the status quo.

This work, made in collaboration with filmmaker Astrid Gleichmann, features the stories of Camalo Gaskin, Tobi Ayedadjou, Niv Acosta, Natalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro and Fannie Sosa. It has been supported by the Decentralized Cultural Work Tempelhof-Schöneberg, District Kunst und Kulturforderung Berlin and A Prima Vista Filmproduktion.

 


Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor (b. 1984, Florida) is a multidisciplinary artist and community organizer. Her roots are in the Southern United States, born in Mississippi and raised in Florida. Taylor’s work manifests through performance, text, dialogue, dance and community building for Black People and People of Colour. She is chiefly concerned with ways to dismantle oppressive institutions and the creation of racial equity in art and cultural institutions. She has performed and presented at the Barbican Centre of Art (London, UK); Chisenhale Gallery (London, UK); Hebbel Am Ufer (Berlin, Germany); Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin, Germany); Sophiensaele Theater (Berlin, Germany);  The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art (Oslo, Norway); Rogaland Kunstsenter (Stavanger, Norway); and the Irish Museum for Modern Art (Dublin, Ireland). She is currently undergoing a Master of Art in Black British Literature at Goldsmiths University of London.

 

 

 

Kimberly L. Becker

LANGUAGE CLASS

(written on Qualla Boundary; for C.M.)

Little by little
we are reclaiming the words
Just as the land was once large,
so, too, our voice
Some words lost on the Trail
have been found
They lived hidden in baskets,
in pockets, in the very tassels of corn
(Selu, Selu)
Now the words live again
See? When I say nogwo it is now,
both the now of then and the now
of not yet
The words work secret medicine
and strong, forming us
from the inside out
Language is our Magic Lake–
we walk in limping with loss
and emerge wholly ourselves
When Cecilia speaks
she bears with her
the future of these sounds
Listen: her voice is soft, but sure

Kimberly L. Becker


Kimberly L. Becker is author of Words Facing EastThe Dividings (WordTech Editions), and Flight (forthcoming, MadHat Press). Her poems appear in journals and anthologies such as BloodlettersDrunken BoatIDK MagazineIndigenous Message on WaterWomen Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender ViolenceTending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits; and Bared. Grants and residencies include The Regional Artist Project of Northwest NC, Hambidge Fellow, Weymouth Center Writer in Residence, and Wildacres Residency Program. Kimberly has read at venues from The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, to Wordfest. She has served as mentor for PEN America’s Prison Writing Program and AWP’s Writer to Writer Program.

 

 

Published in The Mom Egg Vol. 8 Lessons, 2010

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