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

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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.

Madhouse of Spirits

Coil by Remedios Varo

Coil by Remedios Varo

I unwrap a bar of amaranth soap

and wash my own mouth

the way Mama used to do when I’d been profane…   

–Jenn Givhan

(Read full poem at The Collagist)

Two Poems at Superstition Review

“TimeBrawleyTheater Capsule” and “Junkyard Halflight” up at Superstition Review.

“Small things come back in pieces.
That time of day I wasn’t afraid to close

my eyes. The white flies weren’t yet lured
by streetlamps; the air still held its damp menudo.
On one side of the house, the cemetery

where I buried a stillborn and a marriage
swollen with ditchwater; on the other side,
a landfill.” –Jenn Givhan

Reabsorption Elegy

Sculpture by Kenneth Paul Lesko

Sculpture by Kenneth Paul Lesko

 

Daughter, I won’t make milk for you anymore.
      The body retreats. It reclaims
miracles.

Published in Glint Literary Journal.

Mama Hulas with the Eggslice Player One Last Time

My poem published at Tupelo Quarterly.

photo credit raw fashion magazine

photo credit raw fashion magazine

“the skate-floor-turned-dance-

for-your-life-floor,

just beginning to understand

I was the reason
 
for her dizziness and egglonging”

–Jenn Givhan

Miscarriage

Jennifer Givhan

MiscarriagIMG_0098e

In a field where a hot air balloon waits tethered,
children balancing umbrellas and wearing party hats

plant birthday bouquets; where they grow
the swollen bulbs push open the soil

smelling of clay and fingerpaint. Even the sky
celebrates in reverse, hanging like pigtails from a jungle gym.

Not many daffodils or crickets are lucky enough to become fossils,
but here every joule of heat remains inside the balloon.

One might be tempted to drift away now
rather than later.

IMG_0100