Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Featured Book: I Carry My Mother, by Leslea Newman

I Carry My Mother. Leslie Newman. Headmistress Press, 2015.

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Lesléa Newman is the author of several poetry collections, including Nobody’s Mother, Signs of Love, and October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard (novel-in-verse) which received a Stonewall Honor from the American Library Association. Her literary awards include poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation; the Burning Bush Poetry Prize; and second place runner-up in the Solstice Literary Journal poetry competition. Her poetry has been published in Spoon River Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, Evergreen Chronicles, and others. From 2008-2010 she served as the poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts.

. . . a book-length series of poems that explores a daughter’s journey through her mother’s illness and death and how she carries on without her. The book starts with diagnosis and ends with first yarzheit (death anniversary). The poems are written in accessible form that will resonate with all those who have lost a parent or dearly loved one.

After the introductory poem I thought, "Oh dear, I’m going to cry my way through the whole thing." And then, the exquisite first-rate poetry—using forms like triolet and rondeau—took me to a much deeper place than tears can possibly reveal. This is a very beautiful book.” (Judy Grahn)

Lost Art

The art of losing my mother is hard to master;
Like a little girl lost in the woods who can’t find her way,
I’m afraid I will never survive this disaster.

Of course, somewhere deep inside I knew I would outlast her,
Though I did all I could to keep that notion at bay.
The art of losing my mother is hard to master.

She might return. Who knows? I wouldn’t put it past her.
Denial is not a river in Egypt, they say,
But it is one way to get me through this disaster.

As days slip by, the distance between us grows vaster,
my fading memories add to my growing dismay.
The art of losing my mother is hard to master.

Surely God made a great mistake when he miscast her
as Dead Mother, a role she was never meant to play
in the movie of my life, now called “The Disaster.”

If time heals all wounds, can’t it do so any faster?
Though I never did believe in that tired cliché.
The art of losing my mother is too hard to master,
I cannot get a grip on this crippling disaster.

More Poems:

At Length Magazine

Lavender Review

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