An unsentimental exploration of childhood and parenthood, The Playhouse Near Dark delves into the marvels, terrors and transformations of a new life. Pregnancy and birth are profound experiences, both creative and alienating; the infant—“this force / this vortex of sheer need”—is as powerful as he is vulnerable. In language that is often startlingly intense yet always accessible, this book probes the ways the arrival of a child shapes our perceptions of everything in our world.
ELIZABETH HOLMES’s first book of poetry was The Patience of the Cloud Photographer (Carnegie Mellon, 1997). Her poems have appeared in such journals as Poetry, Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly Review, Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, and Gettysburg Review. A graduate of Davidson College and Cornell University, she works as a writer and editor in Ithaca, New York.
Table of Contents
Taking a History Sonogram Belly After Labor Doorstep Dream Babies Colic Eowntown in Front of the Drugstore At the 7/Eleven Liam at Six Months Back Muscles Sleep and the Baby Startle Reflex Daybreak
Pregnant and Far Gone Having a Baby at 39 Not Me, I'm Not Early Labor The Midwife Second Birth
At One Year Puss in Boots Satellite The Clear-Cut Moving in Sleep Liza Meets Motherhood Watching Rain The Child's Anger Is Immense After the Solstice In Country Kildare A Farewell Picnic
What People are Saying About This
"Elizabeth Holmes's poetic charting of two pregnancies and the earliest years of her children's lives takes the reader into surprisingly unfamiliar territory. From the ultrasound in which she becomes a 'dull / slow boom, haunting the background,' through an infancy in which a child is a 'live current of will / wrapped in a body / of squall and piss,' to the last poem, where children play against the coming darkness, the movement of the book is seamless. With unexpected imagery and an exceptionally fine ear, Holmes explores and balances emotional complexities that will speak to all of us."
"Elizabeth Holmes's moving poems make the experience of motherhood vivid and immediate. They will awaken intense memories in any reader who's ever had a baby, and enlighten those who haven't."