Literary Mama is a proud member of the following organizations:
The International Mothers Network
The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses
Theresa Shea’s The Unfinished Child is a novel about women, friendship, and family, but the author has a lot more on her mind. Despite its quiet Edmonton setting, and its close-up scenes—in doctors’ offices, at kitchen tables and cafés—it’s also an ambitious book, exploring the intersections of pregnancy, technology, abortion, disability, and family.
When Kate Hopper set out to tell her story of premature motherhood, she immediately bumped up against the myth that motherhood is a rosy experience in which every mother falls instantly in love with her baby and lives happily ever after. “Where are the other versions of that story? The fear and disappointment, the hours and hours spent each day trying to get your baby to stop crying?”
In 2011, artist Jill Miller introduced Pittsburgh to The Milk Truck, a refurbished ice cream truck with a giant nipple on its roof. The truck celebrates breastfeeding, riding to the rescue of nursing mothers who have been asked to nurse in restrooms or cease feeding their children altogether. With a quick tweet, mom is rewarded with a quick comfortable place to nurse in the back of the truck and a business owner appalled by the nipple parked out front. The Milk Truck represents what so many mothers know to be true about breastfeeding: that it’s often equal parts humor and struggle, as noted by Rachel Epp Buller, editor of Have Milk, Will Travel: Adventures in Breastfeeding.
Grief memoirs are plentiful. Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and Francisco Goldman’s Say Her Name come to mind. Topics of death and dying in our culture are not as stigmatized when they pertain to terminal illness or accidental death. However, we see a serious lack when it comes to books about grieving the babies we may lose to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. In taking us step-by-step through Silvan’s brief life and lasting significance, Wesolowska’s memoir provides a bridge across that gulf, both for bereaved parents and those who know them.
In her most recent book, Gold, Barbara Crooker argues with Robert Frost. True, “nature’s first green is gold,” and, true, “nothing gold can stay,” but Crooker sees that nature’s last green is also gold. In these intense, well-crafted poems, gold is tenor and vehicle as Crooker examines the death of her mother, Isabelle, the death of friends, and her own softening body.
In the aftermath of personal or national tragedy, we always seek comfort—whether through rebuilding a normal routine, traveling, or keeping family close—in order to reassemble normalcy and continue onward. In Where the Dead Are Wanda S. Praisner uses poetry in the daily struggle of remembering and recounting her 19-year-old son’s untimely death. Grounded in straightforward narrative, these poems repeat the process of mourning. Highly accessible yet emotionally fraught, Where the Dead Are acts as a compass with which to navigate loss. Readers can participate alongside the speaker rather than only observe these tragic moments.