Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
From the Editor: May 2019


Photo by Rosa Colmenares. See more of Rosa's work at

Photo by Rosa Colmenares. See more of Rosa's work at

Last month, my 12-year-old son and I went to a poetry reading together. He wore a tie of his choosing and the cardigan I asked him to wear; he didn't wear the shirt I suggested, but he did take off the shirt I rejected. Every age is the age of negotiation.

The reading was for finalists in our annual countywide poetry contest, of which my son was one. I was absurdly giddy with maternal pride, not least because I had prodded him to submit his work, and he had resisted my prodding right up to the deadline. He made it clear that he didn't want to enter the contest because it wasn't his own idea. (Another negotiation.) He did it on the last possible day, and in the end, he was one of the winners in the 12- to 14-year-old division.

As I shared the evening with him, enjoying his literary accomplishment as much or more than I've ever enjoyed any of my own, it seemed to me that the best part of it all was that he was enjoying it, too. He was taking the honor seriously, and taking himself a little more seriously, perhaps, because somebody other than his mom had recognized the value in what he had written.

Many of us, regardless of our age, have a tendency to downplay the value of our work or cast aspersions on its quality, whether we're talking about our housework, volunteer work, artwork, or whatever we do to pay the bills. We overlook our successes while we scan the horizon for the next incoming threat of failure. We choose cynicism over earnestness because we'd rather not seem to care if the reward for caring might be embarrassment. We are always negotiating with ourselves: What are we willing to try? What identities will we allow ourselves to claim?

As my children continue to grow out of childhood, I know that my encouragement may feel like pressure and my enthusiasm may feel like expectation, but I hope that we'll all learn to negotiate those disjunctions together, and I trust that it's always the right choice to celebrate when one of them takes a chance. With our Mother's Day issue, we at Literary Mama celebrate the chances you take every day, year upon year—as mothers, as writers, and as complex citizens of a complex world.

Senior Editor

P.S. Stay connected between monthly issues by subscribing to our blog and newsletter and by following us on social media! Also, explore our archives to discover more mothers' voices.

The End of a Circle: The Talk by Jennifer Golden

Creative Nonfiction
The Imaginary Husband by Lisa Williams Kline
How to See Light by Stephanie Andersen

Back to Spring by Julie Rosenzweig

Literary Reflections
My Fledgling Reader by Julie Sonnek
Essential Reading: Mother's Day compiled by Nerys Copelovitz


In the Wild North of Brazil, It Rains by Jennifer Haas
Heirloom by Mary Beth Hines
Mother's Day Greeting by Lisa Macaione
Stronger by AnnMarie Roselli
Walking the Dogs After Rain by Cathy Ann Kodra


A Conversation with Fayeza Hasanat by Rudri Bhatt Patel
A Conversation with Sherisa de Groot by Amanda Jaros

A Review of Hurtling Toward Happiness by Camille-Yvette Welsch

Images by Rosa Colmenares, Joren Aranas, Micheile Henderson, Chaney Zimmerman, Kyle Ellefson, Dennis de Groot, Danilo Batista, and Annie Spratt

Libby Maxey lives in rural Massachusetts with her husband and two rapidly maturing sons. With her academic career as a medievalist having died a stunningly swift death by childbirth, she now administers the classics department at Amherst College, writes poetry, reads when able, and sings with her local light opera company. Her work has appeared in The Mom Egg Review, Emrys, Crannóg Magazine, Pirene’s Fountain, Mezzo Cammin and elsewhereHer first poetry chapbook, Kairos, won the Finishing Line Press New Women’s Voices contest.

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What a beautiful blog post. Thank you!
Thanks, Laura. I'm glad it resonated with you!
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