In the Cloakroom of Proper Musings is a work unique in form. The story, fragmented by a combination of white space and fleur-de-lis, is a sequential chronicling of one woman’s joy juxtaposed alongside her need to survive. It is an ode to the intensity of a mother’s love. It is a narrative in which memory solders itself into image, and image spins into movement. Words become a way toward balance. Time is a tightrope-walk, a knife-juggle.
Kristina Moriconi creates a form—the lyrical primer, let’s call it—wholly necessary to her subject—a true creative achievement. These brief, exquisite reports/meditations/lesson plans are profoundly tender in their love for family, and ferocious in their commitment to the inner life and the sanctity of language. It’s the “accidental implications” as well as the “little vexing things” that, in Moriconi’s hands, reinscribe motherhood—that is, the world beheld anew and nurtured, on behalf of us all.
LIA PURPURA, Author of On Looking and All the Fierce Tethers
"Sometimes being a mother is an act of contrition." Moriconi's kaleidoscopic voyage into the sometime sorrowful, but often joyous country of motherhood and the vagaries of being a woman in the world, is nothing short of a miracle. These narrative strands veritably vibrate and pierce the fragile membrane of experience, and allow us to both understand and forgive ourselves the humanity of living the maternal life. All throughout, the enormous and wondrous canopy of nature provides a backdrop for living, healing, loving and everything else in-between that is beautiful and terrible all at once.
MICHELLE REALE, Author of Season of Subtraction and Birds of Sicily
This is the book you’ll want tucked in your satchel at riverside or mountaintop, wherever you find your deepest breaths. What does it mean to inhabit one’s life fully—as a mother, as an artist, as a collector of trees, birds, stones, a hundred particular griefs? She chronicles the ruin of every little thing, holds her daughters close, Kristina Moriconi writes in this work of caesura and human song. In her sage lyric narrative, Moriconi looks askance at the antiquated myths girls ingest on their way to womanhood and offers, in their place, truer lessons: Our bodies can break open again and again, we can learn to forgive ourselves, we can carry a heart heavy with the processing and reprocessing of the body’s blood, love, and ache. We can love multitudinously. In the Cloakroom of Proper Musings is a beautiful and significant work I will be returning to for years.
DARLA HIMELES, Author of Flesh Enough
In the Cloakroom of Proper Musings is a beautifully detailed ledger of inner conflict, regret, and forgiveness, filled with delicious word choices and wisdom. For anyone who has doubted their own worthiness as a mother, this book is a gutting act of noticing and notation. It left me feeling unmasked, understood, and less alone.
PENNY GUISINGER, Author of Postcards from Here