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

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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

Interview with my own “poetry mother,” Irena Praitis

It is my honor to present a conversation with Cal State Fullerton’s beloved poetry professor, Irena Praitis, in the series of Mother Writers interviews.

Read and be inspired!

Love,

Jenn

Conversation with Julianna Baggott

Hey all!

I’ve had the opportunity to chat with Julianna Baggott, amazingly talented and successful contemporary writer & poet… who’s also a mom! Check out the interview, the first in a series with successful mama writers, here.

CONVERSATION WITH JULIANNA BAGGOTT

If you have any suggestions about a successful mother writer you’d like to see interviewed, please feel free to contact me.

Next up in the series of interviews, SHAINDEL BEERS, poet & editor par excellence. Stay tuned!

Love,
Jenn

200 New Mexico Poems Centennial Anthology

Photo by Laura Gilpin

Mrs. Francis Na Kai and son, 1932

I’m honored that my poem “Mrs. Francis Na Kai at the Birthday Party” is included in this incredible project, celebrating one hundred years past and one hundred years future of New Mexican poetry (check out my poem, posted on June 29th). Thank you to Ms. Lisa Hase-Jackson, beautifully talented poet and editor.

Francis Na Kai and Family,
Red Rock Arizona
Photos by Laura Gilpin

Thank you for reading.

Love,

Jenn

Mama Song

from Mama Song

…I watched my son’s birthmama labor the night, kept time
by the beat of his heart.  When she turned left-side-over in bed,
his heart slowed. The baseline dipped each time she moved.
My world lapsed, seconds lost in a thump.  My husband and I
huddled like cats; her mother slept fits in the recliner.
If God exists, he exists in the capacity to wait…

 

Jennifer Givhan

first published in Gloom Cupboard

 


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