The 49th Shelf: Reading My Way Through Motherhood

I’ve written a post about Canadian books that have bolstered or challenged me as a mother.  It’s up now at 49th Shelf.  Go take a peek, but be warned, there are a lot of cool things to look at 0ver there — it won’t be a quick visit!  An excerpt:

Breastfeeding Blues

Two poems about breastfeeding, from two fantastic collections have been touchstones of sorts for me during those first beautiful – and, let’s face it, often marathon and mind-numbingly boring – breastfeeding sessions.

Book Cover A Fortress of Chairs

A Fortress of Chairs : Elisabeth Harvor’s poems are notable for their moody sense of the physical; I love how she finds sensuality in the everyday and explores the female body in a way that is both wanton and careful. The poem ‘Madame Abundance’ is a gorgeous, unsettling, sleepy meditation on what it means to nourish a baby – and how closely this action hews to the baby’s beginnings.

Book Cover Joy is So Exhausting

Joy is so Exhausting: This collection was a revelation to me. It’s a book whose tongue is out waggling at the world when not firmly planted in cheek. I adore its intelligent play and the way it worships words and excavates essential truths through mischievous humour. But in the context of this list, it is the prose poem ‘Nursery’ that shines. Structured around the back-and-forthing of a feed, and addressed to the narrator’s baby, the poem is an unpretentious meditation on what it means to be so essential, so connected, so literally and figuratively drained that your story becomes inextricably twined (and twinned) with your baby’s rhythms. And it’s funny!

Here’s a taste (81): Right: I’m no athlete but I could pitch for the La Leche League. Left: All soft skin similes would have nowhere to go but right back to you. Right: Imprint of my sweatshirt zipper across your chin, Frankenstein’s baby. Left: You thrash around in your sleep until one leg flaps flat and the other is packed with knees.

Read the rest here.