Motherhood does not just originate in the body, but in the world—a place, a region, a country or nation, a landscape, a language, a culture. Mothers are, as novelist Rachel Cusk once observed, “the countries we come from.” This unique literary anthology features thirty-five poems and twenty-three works of prose (creative non-fiction and short fiction). Here, forty-three award-winning and accomplished writers reflect on their complex twenty-first century familial identities and relationships, exploring maternal landscapes of all kinds, including those of heritage, matrilineage, geneaology, geography, emigration, war, exile, alienation, and affiliation. Spanning the globe—from the U.K, the USA and Canada, Egypt, the former Yugoslavia, France, Africa, Korea and South America—these intimate and honest narratives of the heart cross borders and define crossroads that are personal and political, old and new. Recovering the maternal landscape through poetry and prose, these writers both memorialize and celebrate the power of family to define, limit, and challenge us.
Jane Satterfield is the recipient of awards in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, Maryland Arts Council, Bellingham Review, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Mslexia, and more. Her essays have received awards from the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, Massachusetts Review, Florida Review, and the Heekin Foundation, among others. Her books of poetry are Her Familiars, Assignation at Vanishing Point, and Shepherdess with an Automatic. She is also the author of Daughters of Empire: A Memoir of a Year in Britain and Beyond (Demeter Press). Born in England, she teaches creative writing at Loyola University Maryland, USA.
Laurie Kruk teaches English at Nipissing University in North Bay, Canada. She has published The Voice is the Story: Conversations with Canadian Writers of Short Fiction (Mosaic, 2003) and Double-Voicing the Canadian Short Story (Ottawa UP, 2016). She is also the author of three poetry collections: Theories of the World (Netherlandic, 1992), Loving the Alien (YSP, 2006), and My Mother Did Not Tell Stories (Demeter, 2012). This last collection is described as weaving “tales that powerfully uncover the necessity of vocalizing that which is learned, experienced, and traditionally unshared” (ARC Poetry Magazine).
The reach is global in this gripping collection of poems, stories, and creative non-fiction about mothers and mothering. Here are voices wide-ranging and complex; they tell of love, loss, and renunciation. A wife dies in a cattle car destined for Auschwitz and her husband is forced to make a decisive move to care for their five-day-old son. A carefully guarded secret about her marriage is revealed after the death of a devout grandmother. An unplanned second pregnancy gives rise to confusion and remorse for biological and adoptive mother alike. The landscape of mothering is drawn anew in this raw and haunting collection. Every word rings true.
—Ruth Panofsky, author of Laike and Nahum: A Poem in Two Voices