Bring Down the Little Birds

Overview


How does a contemporary woman with a career as a poet, professor, and editor experience motherhood with one small child, another soon to be born, and her own mother suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor and Alzheimer’s? The dichotomy between life as a mother and life as an artist and professional is a major theme in modern literature because often the two seem irreconcilable. In Bring Down the Little Birds, Carmen Giménez Smith faces this seeming irreconcilability head-on, offering a powerful and necessary lyric...
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Overview


How does a contemporary woman with a career as a poet, professor, and editor experience motherhood with one small child, another soon to be born, and her own mother suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor and Alzheimer’s? The dichotomy between life as a mother and life as an artist and professional is a major theme in modern literature because often the two seem irreconcilable. In Bring Down the Little Birds, Carmen Giménez Smith faces this seeming irreconcilability head-on, offering a powerful and necessary lyric memoir to shed light on the difficulties—and joys—of being a mother juggling work, art, raising children, pregnancy, and being a daughter to an ailing mother, and, perhaps most important, offering a rigorous and intensely imaginative contemplation on the concept of motherhood as such.

Writing in fragmented yet coherent sections, the author shares with us her interior monologue, affording the reader a uniquely honest, insightful, and deeply personal glimpse into a woman’s first and second journeys into motherhood. Giménez Smith begins Bring Down the Little Birds by detailing the relationship with her own mother, from whom her own concept of motherhood originated, a conception the author continually reevaluates and questions over the course of the book.

Combining fragments of thought, daydreams, entries from notebooks both real and imaginary, and real-life experiences, Giménez Smith interrogates everything involved in becoming and being a mother for both the first and second time, from wondering what her children will one day know about her own “secret life” to meditations on the physical effects of pregnancy as well as the myths, the nostalgia, and the glorification of motherhood.

While Giménez Smith incorporates universal experiences of motherhood that other authors have detailed throughout literature, what separates her book from these many others is that her reflections are captured in a style that establishes an intimacy and immediacy between author and reader through which we come to know the secret life of a mother and are made to question our own conception of what motherhood really means.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Carmen Giménez Smith elevates the motherhood memoir to pure poetry. Who are we, beyond somebody's mother and somebody's daughter? Bring Down the Little Birds dives into all the rich and irritating questions with heart, guts, and humor." --Ariel Gore, author of Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness and founder of Hip Mama
Library Journal
In this sophisticated collection of poetry, Smith (New Mexico State Univ.) explores the misty space among motherhood, selfhood, and working professional. The poems rarely exceed ten lines and read more like poetic observations than formal poetry, perfectly matching the content, as writing while home with small children can feel like small moments snatched from a hurried life. Smith is by turns intense, astute, humorous, and philosophical ("children have everything of someone else's"); she writes with alacrity and grace, reminiscent of Naomi Shihab Nye in her ability to reveal the extraordinary within the ordinary. Highly recommended for all poetry lovers.—Julianne J. Smith, "Parenting Short Takes," BookSmack! 8/19/10
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816528691
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2010
  • Series: Camino del Sol
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 1,256,573
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Carmen Giménez Smith is an assistant professor in the English department at New Mexico State University, editor-in-chief of the literary journal Puerto del Sol, and publisher of Noemi Press.
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