Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

I was struck by the innocence one of our readers captured in this photo and what it said to me about exploring the unknown, peering into darkness, and greeting adventure.

I grew up on a farm and remember vividly the intense odors of dust and bird droppings that greeted me when I entered our barn or one of the many sheds my dad used to store machinery and straw bales.

My four-year-old daughter, Tess, brings it home
from preschool on an autumn afternoon.
We say goodnight to the brush and the comb
and the bowl of mush, the stars and the moon.

No with a sigh, pleading, flung out with arms
and kicking.

No with weeping and giant tears on her lashes,
her hands tight and tangled in her tangled hair.

In this month’s Essential Reading, we’re proving that good things do indeed come in small packages by highlighting novellas, chapbooks, poetry, and short story collections.


The day before Rowan’s open-heart surgery, when they drew his blood, I held him on my lap. I talked him through the pain.

I feel exhausted, and now torn between my desire to be a good mother and a good teacher.

There is a part of Becca that remains childlike and dependent. She will always need her mother's help.

One of us is always wearing the golden shoes, it seems, reminding their wearer that they can only ever fly so far.


I hadn't reminded the kids of the challenge, and I was actually hoping that they would forget—but they hadn't.


In this month's Essential Reading, we're highlighting novellas, chapbooks, poetry, and short story collections.

Harriet Beecher Stowe / Determined / wrote at the kitchen table / amid the din / of pots and children.


your kind is not welcome here / we will not treat you.


I’ve counted your words / like miles—first they drooled / on carpet, crawled knee / to hardwood


No with weeping and giant tears on her lashes, / her hands tight and tangled in her tangled hair.


We say goodnight to the brush and the comb / and the bowl of mush, the stars and the moon.

The central concern of Laura Sims's four poetry books is obsession with what scares her the most.

Katie Manning's collection of poems examines motherhood with a fresh, acerbic eye and an imaginative wit.


Dana Fitz Gale weaves together the wounded lives of people who at first glance read like clichés, but their hurt fills them out, makes them real.