Our Mothers, Our Selves

Our Mothers, Our Selves

by J. Bernstein
     
 

Finally, we have an inclusive collection that brings motherhood into the fold of feminism. As we accede to our universal origins in the mother, we witness the infinite variety of experiences awarded the offspring. Spectrums of gender, race, age, religion, class, and nation give voice in Donnelly and Bernstein's anthology as more than 80 writers contribute poetry,

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Overview

Finally, we have an inclusive collection that brings motherhood into the fold of feminism. As we accede to our universal origins in the mother, we witness the infinite variety of experiences awarded the offspring. Spectrums of gender, race, age, religion, class, and nation give voice in Donnelly and Bernstein's anthology as more than 80 writers contribute poetry, essays, memoirs, and short fiction. Some of the artists are well-known, including Maya Angelou, Galway Kinnell, Marge Piercy, Margaret Atwood, and Robert Bly, while others are less known. All attest to the experience of motherhood as primal.

Writing as mothers, as children to their mothers, and as close observers, women and men create selections that fall into three trimesters of involvement: the experiences of going beyond the self, beyond reflection, and, finally, beyond the whole. The many shades of emotional experience, from ecstasy to horror and all points in between, are portrayed in words and photographs. As images take shape, nightmares are relived, emotions flow abundantly, and details come into focus as the cathartic effect of the writing builds. Painting motherhood as much more than just a pretty picture, the editors' purpose is clearly to bring us all together under a multi-faceted umbrella of empathy and to unite us in the diversity of the experience of motherhood.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Feminist writers Kenison and Hirsch consider their collection of short stories the first about motherhood by mothers in America today. Originally published between 1981 and 1994, mostly in the New Yorker and Redbook, the pieces include Mary Gordon's "Separation" and Kenison's work on Olive A. Burns's unfinished Bildungsroman Leaving Cold Sassy. This could have been an interesting collection, but it is marred by the editors' skewed perception of women who do not regard motherhood as a legitimate literary subject and their contention that in the 1970s and 1980s, maternity was so unfashionable that it, rather than institutional sexism, was the barrier to creative achievement. Aiming to "bring the celebration of motherhood into the fold of feminism," Donnelly and Bernsteinwho both teach English at a community collegehave collected essays, short fiction, and poems about motherhood, most by contemporary writers, including themselves. Many of the contributors to their "womb-book" are well known, e.g., Gwendolyn Brooks, Sylvia Plath, and Robert Bly. Anna Quindlen's "The Glass Half Empy," reprinted from her New York Times column, explores her recognition of the sexism her daughter faces and her son does not. There are also excerpts from major works such as Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior and Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Both collections will interest the general reader but will not compete with Mother Journeys: Feminist Writing About Mothering (LJ 11/1/94).Helen Rippier Wheeler, formerly of UC-Berkeley, SLIS
Booknews
A collection of poems, short stories, memoirs, and photographs observing the diversity of motherhood from the point of view of mothers and children. The selections avoid sentimentality and pursue the profounder depths, sorrows, and joys of the theme while maintaining a high standard of literary craft. The writers represent a spectrum of gender, race, age, and class, and include such well-known artists as Maya Angelou, Galway Kinnell, Sharon Olds, Margaret Atwood, and Robert Bly. Lacks an index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780897894456
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
04/30/1996
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.59(d)
Lexile:
1040L (what's this?)

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