Review of HEADLESS MAMA!

The Blueshift Journal reviews LANDSCAPE WITH HEADLESS MAMA gorgeously. I’m so grateful.

“Givhan writes with a subtle magic, twining familial tension with the cultural fodder of the folktale. In the end, Landscape with Headless Mama is a tale full of whimsy and the poetics of language – and yet, at the same time, a tale that doesn’t shy away from the dark forests of the fairytale. Indeed, Landscape with Headless Mama is a beast, its jaws gaping wide.” –Briana Albers

Read the full review here.

Lovesong of the Barren Woman, Poems & An Interview with Jennifer Givhan

Image

Frida Kahlo’s The Broken Column

2. Looking Glass

                   The image in the mirror appears whole
                             though I swear I am a fragment.

Columnar self,
I am my own grotesque other body.

I fell asleep inside my pod and woke to red,
where oceans are dry as salt flats, where red means lost
and lost means dead.

(Read the whole poem here, published at The Fertile Source).

I am so honored to have poems & an interview published by The Fertile Source:

“In the Looking Glass section, with its body-as-empty-house imagery, I thought in terms of Mexican art—surrealist paintings, specifically by female painters Remedios Varo, Frida Kahlo, and Leonora Carrington, play a major role in my writing. They infuse my imagery with color, with discovering beauty and hope in the grotesque, in the strange. The columnar self is also an allusion to Frida Kahlo’s painting “The Broken Column”—and the grotesque is in part referencing the grotesque aspects of this type of art. I also draw on Julia Kristeva’s formulations of the abject in this section. Kristeva writes, “Abjection is above all ambiguity… while releasing a hold, it does not cut off the subject from what threatens it” (Powers of Horror). What threatens the infertile woman (and the woman whose babies die inside her) is her own body. Refiguring the classic construction of the mind/body split was a major concern in this section. In the poem, I was working out my own formulation for such questions as, how does a woman love a body that hurts her? That sabotages her? How does a mother find/express/nurture the babies that exist in her mind and heart but that will not grow inside her body?”

(Please read the whole interview here).

All my best to you,

Jenn