Cynthia Marie Hoffman’s extraordinary second poetry collection gives voice to a chorus of unusual voices: ectopic twins, a lamb’s wool strap on a gurney, a mother’s liver, a sketch of a homunculus, a male physician who must deliver a dead child. Part spell book, part study in the body and birth, it inhabits a strange landscape of pregnancy, childbirth and obstetrics from medieval midwifery’s superstitious practices to today’s scheduled C-sections.
In many ways, Cassie Premo Steele’s new book recognizes the twin impulses here that many mother-writers share—the need for order and help, and the need to do well and be well. For literary mamas, these needs relate not only to our families but to our creative lives when we see fit to acknowledge them.
While kitchens and ingredients have shifted throughout America’s history, our fundamental relationship with food and food writing remain surprisingly unchanged. We are concerned, to varying degrees, with taste, economy, health, and conviviality. And when in need of inspiration, we turn to words: annotated recipes, chatty cookbooks, foodie memoirs, and illuminating essays.