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We have not discussed bodies placed in the earth that do not biodegrade: substances that degrade. I got a look at these two years ago, when a field near our complex turned into a waste dump. The area, about the size of a soccer pitch, separates our walled parking lot from a Thai primary school, whose students we hear singing patriotic anthems at outdoor assemblies.
Back to the Soil by Avery Fischer Udagawa

All week, I'd been listening, horrified, to NPR news reports of seventeen-year-old Trayvon's murder -- how a self-appointed vigilante gunned him down because he felt threatened by this young black man's presence in his gated community.
Every Mother's Son by Ona Gritz

With varying levels of dedication, I've been an "enviro" my entire adult life. Before we moved to South Africa, before the twins had even turned two, I bought a thick manual called Teaching Green. I intended to continue green living in Cape Town, and I intended to give my children a precocious environmental education. After that morning at the drop-off, however, I knew my lessons would need some revision.
Recycle, Rethink, Respect by Katherine Barrett

I am hardly alone in this: our expat neighborhood harbors many spouses who left a career or went freelance to follow a partner's job overseas. These spouses boast various professional backgrounds--labor and delivery nurse, realtor, designer, engineer, journalist--yet these backgrounds can disappear when their most visible job is being the at-home parent.
High-Res by Avery Fischer Udagawa

This spring, I will turn 45. It is a nice, solid number. A number in the center of midlife. Long ago, as a young wife, still mostly defined by my role as a daughter, I wrote the two poems ...
In the spring, the daughter blossoms by Cassie Premo Steele and its accompanying Reader Response.

Her dog, Ike, pulls on the leash attached to Maureen's wrist, as Thomas, her four-year-old, holds on to the back of her coat and her purse slides to the crook of her arm. Maureen feels stretched and off balance.
Unleased by Vicky Fish

The mother swept quickly through the crosswalk, like a duck on a pond, trailing her daughter behind her. She hooked her thumbs under the straps of her backpack, felt the ache lift away, then settle again on her shoulders. What seemed necessary had become a burden: a Thermos of iced water, coloring books, borrowed binoculars, a stuffed unicorn. A day that had to be perfect.
Flight by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo

Literary Reflections
Even for some seasoned readers of prose, picking up poetry can be like choosing a new toothpaste brand. Prose has treated us well, so why switch? It is the sort of life change that only arrives in moments of upheaval or because we have coupons. I admit that I am a novice poetry seeker: a little tentative, perhaps still caught off guard by how many different types of minty freshness there can be, but also willing to take more risks when I reach for the next book.
Essential Reading: Poetry by Rhena Tantisunthorn

When did I make the connection that my love of books was about more than the release they offered from the confines of each day's logistical concerns? The troubles of the flesh?
Of Books and Babies by Julianna Thibodeaux

flutter bug swishy fish macaroon
tiger cub sea turtle diver scallop...
Yet to Be Born by Jaime Asaye Fitzgerald

the acacia is singing
Pregnant by Heather Angier

Nothing is more holy shit than the positive
on our bathroom sink. There is a feeling
beyond pleasure, beyond joy, beyond fear,
that chews me from the knees up...
Testing by Renee Beauregard Lute

Strangers will stare.
They'll hoot and holler
about ice cream for two,
insist on carting your bag,
and wonder
if you can do your job...
Pregnant Lady Be Ready by Deborah Bacharach

This is the week the heart starts
5 weeks by Brittney Corrigan

They show us a portrait
of four mystic cells.
In a sterile room,
I am the showcase...
Zygotes, Hatched and Delivered by Laurette Folk

Mei-Ling Hopgood is an award-winning journalist who has reported on cops, diversity, the Pentagon, transportation, spelling bees, and, most recently, global motherhood. Hopgood, along with her husband and two daughters, lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for four years and just recently moved back to the US Midwest.
An Interview with Mei-Ling Hopwood by Suzanne Kamata

When you think of Erma Bombeck, the word "feminist" probably doesn't leap to mind. Instead, you might think of your mother's well-worn copy of one of Bombeck's ten bestsellers or a yellowed clipping of one of her syndicated newspaper columns stuck to your childhood fridge with a magnet. And, perhaps, that's just as Bombeck would have wanted it, having made a career, as she did, out of lampooning her life as a suburban housewife. But Bombeck was in many ways a feminist.
Erma Bombeck: Feminist Housewife by Kristen Levithan

After several years of reading her columns and blogs, and several more of an email/Facebook/Twitter friendship, I am finally meeting Ericka Lutz. She and I share an uncanny affinity: We are Jewish feminist writer mothers of daughters; we are denizens of corresponding coastal liberal enclaves (she is Bay Area born and bred and now lives in Oakland; I'm from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and live next door in Arlington); we both dislike Paris, Christmas, narcissistic writers, and fey spirituality.
A Profile of Ericka Lutz by Rebecca Steinitz

An award-winning author of three poetry collections, Giménez Smith brings poetic impulse to every syllable of her latest work. At once memoir, a book-length essay, and an epic poem (motherhood as heroic quest), Bring down the Little Birds gathers, weaves, and illuminates the multi-faceted complexities of motherhood. I am tempted to label it a "literary nest" spun from fragments of experience, memory, reflection, imagination, pop culture, literature, and language.
The Syntax of Motherhood by Marilyn Bousquin

Thanks to the right mix of message and timing, Planting Dandelions and Radical Homemakers both changed my actions and attitudes for the better. They gave me a new lease on my home life and renewed inspiration to tackle my creative pursuits. What an invaluable gift. These books were just what this mama needed, when I needed them.
Home Is Where the Revolution Is by Erin Walter

Literature was my first love, books my first refuge. In my life before motherhood, I never dreamt that finding time to read would present a challenge. Then I had my son and, with the birth of my daughter a little over two years later, I find myself struggling to find time to sneeze, let alone fall into the pages of a novel. Now, when I do curl up with a book, I want it to count. I want to be transported, transformed, to bask in someone else's experiences or eloquence, or both.
A Time To Read by Erinn Kelley

The Literary Mama Blog Editor searches for mama-centric news you can use — including information about publishing opportunities and literacy efforts; essays and writing prompts that motivate and inspire; and announcements about events, classes, and workshops. The current blog editor is Rudri Patel; read her bio here.

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