This month Cassie Premo Steele chose two poems by readers on the themes of mothers and suicide. And yet not. There’s something deeper at play in these poems. As if something is being shaken loose. Read the poems and then listen in on the conversation between the poets. See if something is opened and released in you.
Every mother has a winter season. We don’t talk about it much anymore. We hold up Sexton and Plath as counter-examples, we say, “Oh, how much has changed!” and we rush, in the course of one day, to job, soccer, homework, yoga, PTA, shopping, and bed. We have more options now, in the outside world. But still, mothering is an inside job. It is emotional. It takes place in intimate spaces. It demands we go down into our inner worlds and then come up for air and light.
Last month’s column invited readers to submit poems on “mothering differently.” Cassie Premo Steele shares two beautiful poems about our sometimes painfully complex mother-daughter relationships, as well as a discussion about daughters, mothers, difference, and poetry.
In my last two columns, we discussed the intricacies – personal, cultural, and historical – of desiring natural motherhood. This month, I’d like to shift our discussion from the subject of desire to being.
In last month’s column Cassie Premo Steele invited readers to submit writing on the theme of Desiring Natural Motherhood. This essay by Jessica Ellis Laine brings to light two essential aspects of “the natural” in mothering. First, that in opening ourselves to giving birth, we also open ourselves to the possibility of death. And second, that everything we take to be “natural” is also at least partially constructed by the culture and history into which we are born.