Mother Songs: Poems for, by and about Mothers

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A unique collection of verse about maternity and the celebration of motherhood, MotherSongs brings together for the first time a range of classic and contemporary poems from the United States, Great Britain, and Canada.
The editors have included traditional ballads about maternity and courtly elegies for or by mothers as well as landmark nineteenth-century tributes to mothers and early twentieth-century meditations on motherhood.MotherSongs opens with poems about pregnancy, ...
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Overview

A unique collection of verse about maternity and the celebration of motherhood, MotherSongs brings together for the first time a range of classic and contemporary poems from the United States, Great Britain, and Canada.
The editors have included traditional ballads about maternity and courtly elegies for or by mothers as well as landmark nineteenth-century tributes to mothers and early twentieth-century meditations on motherhood.MotherSongs opens with poems about pregnancy, labor, delivery, and nursing and moves to poems about women raising children, delighting in their growth, or mourning their loss. The volume then turns to poems by sons and daughters who "remember mama."
Mythic mothers and mother goddesses, moral or political reflections on maternity, and philosophical analyses of the meaning of motherhood are also represented. Taken together, the works collected here bear witness to the powerful ways in which motherhood has been transformed into art and artistry has been shaped by maternity.

MotherSongs, a unique collection of verse about maternity and the celebration of motherhood, opens with poems about pregnancy, labor, delivery, and nursing and moves to poems about women raising children, delighting in their growth or mourning their loss. Includes works by such artists as Emily Dickinson, William Blake, Walt Whitman and others.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With little of the sentimentality its title forewarns, this vibrant, provocative anthology explores the varied dimensions of maternity. Gilbert and Gubar (who collaborated on The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women) and O'Hehir, a poet and novelist, have arranged their razor-edged selections into 12 thematic sections-from birthing to sons' and daughters' remembrances of their mothers. The final section, ``Conceiving the Mother: Meanings of Maternity,'' begins with Walt Whitman's ``Unfolded Out of the Folds'' and ends breathtakingly with Sharon Olds's ``The Language of the Brag,'' where the speaker claims, ``I have done what you wanted to do, Walt Whitman/ ...with the exceptional heroic body/ this giving birth, this glistening verb....'' In styles spanning from ballad to prose poem, from John Donne's 17th-century metaphysics to the contemporary confessionalism of Anne Sexton and Diane Wakoski, this collection of 200 poems illuminates so many angles of its subject that the overall effect is dazzling. (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393037715
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra M. Gilbert has published numerous volumes of criticism, including, most recently, Death’s Door: Modern Dying and the Ways We Grieve, as well as eight collections of poetry and a memoir. She is coeditor (with Susan Gubar) of The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women and a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle’s Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. A Distinguished Professor of English emerita at the University of California, Davis, she lives in Berkeley, California.

Susan Gubar is the coauthor of The Madwoman in the Attic, a foundational work of feminist criticism, and the coeditor of The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2002

    Amazing!

    I've been a big fan of this book since my freshman year of high school..the anthology includes both well known poets (Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, William Wordsworth, William Blake, etc) and not so well known poets. The poems are arranged in categories in the chronologial order of life..and the words are true, full of emotion and full of life! Each poem rises from the pages with a voice of it's own!

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