Mama Amazonica

Mama Amazonica

by Pascale Petit


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Mama Amazonica is set in a psychiatric ward and in the Amazon rainforest, an asylum for animals on the brink of extinction. It reveals the story of Pascale Petit's mentally ill mother and the consequences of abuse. The mother transforms into a giant Victoria amazonica waterlily, and a bestiary of untameable creatures - a jaguar girl, a wolverine, a hummingbird - as she marries her rapist and gives birth to his children. From heartbreaking trauma, there emerge luxuriant and tender portraits of a woman battling for survival, in poems that echo the plight of others under duress, and of our companion species. Petit does not flinch from the violence but offers hope by celebrating the beauty of the wild, whether in the mind or the natural world. Mama Amazonica is Pascale Petit's seventh collection, and her first from Bloodaxe. Four of Pascale Petit's previous six collections have been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Mama Amazonica won the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize 2018 - the first time a poetry book has won this prize for a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry best evoking the spirit of a place, was shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize 2018, and was the Poetry Book Society Choice for autumn 2017.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781780372945
Publisher: Bloodaxe Books
Publication date: 12/31/2017
Pages: 112
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Pascale Petit was born in Paris, grew up in France and Wales and lives in Cornwall. She is of French/Welsh/Indian heritage. Her seventh collection, Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe Books, 2017) was Poetry Book Society Choice for Autumn 2017, was shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize 2018 and won the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2018. Her eighth collection, Tiger Girl, is due from Bloodaxe in 2020. She published six previous poetry collections. Her sixth, Fauverie (Seren, 2014), was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Her fifth collection, What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo, published by Seren in 2010 (UK) and Black Lawrence Press in 2011 (US), was shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize, Wales Book of the Year, and was Jackie Kay's Book of the Year in the Observer. Two of her previous books, The Zoo Father and The Huntress, were also shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and were Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement and Independent. She was Poetry Editor of Poetry London from 1989 to 2005 and is a co-founding tutor of The Poetry School. Her poems have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4, The Poetry Archive and ABC Radio National, and published widely in journals around the world, including in Poetry, Poetry Review, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares and Quadrant. They have been translated into 18 languages. She taught popular poetry courses in the galleries at Tate Modern for nine years, and currently tutors for the Arvon Foundation and Ty Newydd. She was the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art 2011-12.

Table of Contents

Mama Amazonica 11

Jaguar Girl 14

Rainforest in the Sleep Room 17

Macaw Mummy 19

Taxidermy 20

Love Charm 21

My Mother's Wedding Dress 22

Chaplet 23

Something Blue 24

Bestiarum 25

Bandaged Bambi 26

Love Charm II 27

He Gives Her a Nightdress Sheer as a Mist-Net 28

Giant Jewel Beetle Ear-Pendants 29

Miscarriage 30

Serpentarium 31

El Hombre Caimén 34

Precious Goliath Beetle 36

Buck 37

The Birth of Jaguar Girl 38

My Amazonian Birth 40

Hummingbird Birth 44

L'Assistance Publique 47

Harpy Eagle Mama 48

Baby Caimans 49

Musica Mundana 51

Limed Blossoms 52

My Mother's Dressing Gown 54

Square de la Place Dupleix 56

Her Harpy Eagle Claws 57

Madre de Dios 58

Fossa 60

Anaconda 63

Black Caiman with Butterflies 64

Extrapyramidal Side Effects 65

Terribilis 68

Jaguar Mama 69

Bottled Macaw 72

Waterlily-Jaguar 74

Scarlet Macaws 76

Río Tambopata 78

Uirapuru and the Tangarana Tree 79

Corpse Flower 80

My Mother's Love 81

When My Mother Became a Boa 82

Mama Ferox 84

The Hospital Haircut 86

Zarafa the First Giraffe in France 88

Great Grey Owl 90

Ocelot 91

Kapok 92

Ah Puch 93

Snow Leopard Woman 95

In the Giraffe House 96

Mama Macaw 97

Rebirth of the Rainforest 98

My Wolverine 99

The Hummingbird Whisperer 100

Mama Oceana 101

Musician-Wren 102

King Vultures 103

The Hummingbird Nest 106

The Jaguar 107

Acknowledgements 111

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