Mother Writer Interview with Michelle Otero

Performing “Mother Lode” as part of Hembras de Pluma 2015, photo credit: Alan Mitchell

Performing “Mother Lode” as part of Hembras de Pluma 2015, photo credit: Alan Mitchell

I’m so excited to share this conversation with fierce Latina poet/playwright/actor/activist extraordinaire Michelle Otero, who discusses her experiences as a writer and stepmother of two.

But I wish someone would have handed me The House on Mango Street or Bless Me, Última and said, “Your people write books too.” … We hold mothers to very high standards. My mom taught elementary school, raised five of us, cooked, and kept the house spotless. I hate cleaning the bathroom. I enjoy cooking, but the pressure of generating a new meal for kids who don’t like vegetables has sucked any pleasure I might derive from that experience. –Otero

Read the full interview here.

Thank you!

Love,

Jenn

Sewing Feathers and After the Miscarriage II in Waxwing

woman sprouting flowersThe mother spreads her arms and waits — hoping

at the top of a hill — for a mend

in the empty break of sky.

–from “Sewing Feathers” (read the full poem in Waxwing).

We lived our first existence as if on an island —

the waving flag of a companionship

always sinking.

–from “After the Miscarriage II” (read the full poem in Waxwing).

Love,

Jenn

Mother Writer Interview with Stefanie Freele

Stefanie Freele and child (2)“I just never ever considered the possibility that motherhood would be in my destiny, that I could be the guide for a small vulnerable human through this big world. I had declared myself as a writer a few years back and that was all the title I needed.”

Summer break is upon us Mother Writers, and I’ve talked to Stefanie Freele for some much needed inspiration and solidarity.

Check out my interview with Stefanie and share your own stories with us!

Love,

Jenn

“The Polar Bear” in Rattle’s Poets Respond

My son and I watch science shows because he wants to be a scientist when he grows up. Online, the morning after we watched amelting-ice-caps show about the ice caps, I watched a mother taking her son away from the Baltimore riots and I wrote this poem.

My boy’s holding his stuffed animal, the white body
of the bear he loves, who will die tonight (who
has already died) and my boy asks me if this is real.
Love,
Jenn

“Nocturne” & “Scientific Balloon” up at Four Way Review

Thedress landscapen I remembered: Mama wasn’t gone
but safe, in her bed, turning in sleep. It was I

who went away—from Chopin in the bones,
palms heavy with dates like dark

purple fingers reaching toward sand…

Read (and listen to) both poems at Four Way Review.

Ritual with Fish Water

painting by Vladimir Kush

painting by Vladimir Kush

She opened the door wider, allowed
him in—dragging his fish, his strings of light,
his wounds—from the rain.

–Jenn Givhan

Read the poem in full at The Baltimore Review

Bird Woman and Bloom

sacagaweaSacagawea emerges from the hedgehog cacti
in the lot behind our crumpling house
heavy with cradleboard & mistaken

for a token of peace…

from “Bird Woman

 

 

The boys next door are ignoring my son. burning tree
It’s playground politics, the fragile and shifting
power dynamics of these early friendships…

from “Bloom

Read both poems at The Boiler.

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