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Editor’s Note:  We were so very disheartened to hear that Joan Swift passed away on March 13 at the age of 90. We offer our condolences to her family and her friends. This 2010 interview with Swift was conducted by Tania Pryputniewicz and posted at She Writes.com (which has since reorganized its site). You can read a selection of Joan Swift’s poems here on our Fertile Source site from obat paling ampuh untuk ambien (Swan Scythe Press, 2010, winner of the Walter Pavlich Memorial Award).–Tania Pryputniewicz

First off Joan, you are one of my heroes, for your poetry in The Dark Path of Our Names in which you grapple with the subject of rape. Here in Snow on a Crocus, Formalities of a Neonaticide, I am wondering once again how you arrive at the strength and vision to inhabit your subjects. Can you talk about the process of writing both volumes, and how they differed for you? About experiential bedrock vs. imagined landscapes?

The strength and vision you mention: I think if I possess those two attributes, it may be because I was abused as a very young child by my father and watched as he abused my mother. I obviously didn’t understand at such a young age what was happening and so must have repressed the anger, terror, and sorrow. I think I’ve been trying to get this straight in my head ever since, using what you call strength and vision derived from those early years in my life. Trying to understand this violence has had its impact on other poems I’ve written.

About the differences in writing the rape poems and the neonaticide poems, in the first few, Parts of Speech, which you may not be familiar with, I was very close to the subject then. The two poems from that group I consider “keepers” are both in form: one in The Dark Path of Our Names uses a court room locale where the testimony of each witness is a kind of scaffolding for their emotional revelations. Form is less prevalent here, except in my own testimony where I chose an almost journalistic style to keep the event at a distance.

But I found it absolutely indispensable in writing the poems in “Snow On a Crocus”. This is heavy material, a hard subject. I was neither the one who committed the crime, nor the victim. It was much more difficult to write these poems because I wasn’t there. Everything, even documented material, had to be imagined. Both groups of poems rely on description, but describing the emotions of someone other than myself was far more difficult than making a poem of my own feelings.

I don’t consider the poems in Snow On a Crocus to be in someone else’s voice or the taking on of a persona, but to be my imaginings. Only the confused unwed pregnant young woman, the baby’s father, the young woman’s mother, and then a dead newborn infant are actual fact. Other details, including those taken from newspaper articles or a comment by someone in the family, have had to be largely imagined. It was, in its strange way, easier to write those things that came from my own imagination in these new poems than in either one of my rape sequences.

Which poems in the collection came to you first? Can you talk about writing “The Start of the Story and Some of the End,” with its powerful closing imagery (last two stanzas): “The child will circle your days long after she’s gone / like a boat that swings on an anchor chain / and never heads out to sea / day after trembling day”?

The first poem I wrote in what was to become the neonaticide sequence was “Prisoner”. It was, in fact, the only poem I intended to write. But others kept creeping into my consciousness. I really can’t remember the order in which they were written. Probably the second poem to come to me is the one you mention, “The Start of the Story and Some of the End”. I had for some time this image in my head of Niagara Falls, on the Canadian side, where I’ve stood close to the water and watched it glide rapidly up to and over the edge. That image didn’t make it into that poem but ended up, strangely, in the last poem. Or at least the violence of the water. Well, there it is again, violence.

In “The Start of the Story…” I try to tell how the young woman got carried away with her first real love and what happened later because she wasn’t careful. I think I expected this poem to be just one more, but had to put a title on it later when I found myself wanting more answers to more questions and had to go on with poems that went into her fear and ambivalence.

I tried in the sequence to explore the number of reasons, most totally unconscious, a woman would commit such an act. There’s the genetic element of self-preservation. It’s innate in all of us. In the book there is a poem about that and a poem about the hormonal influence, how rapidly hormones change after giving birth, affecting a woman’s mood, her acts. And more than one poem about the ambivalence the couple together had about placing the infant for adoption or raising it together.

I think things would have turned out differently if the woman had sought help rather than trying to keep the pregnancy a secret, a subject addressed in the villanelle. But maybe hope and more confusion stood in the way. Here again, as I said earlier, form was a way of controlling the difficulty of the material. Yet, somewhere else I’ve also said that form frees the imagination. Using rhyme frees the imagination. So I think using form provided a double benefit.

That hopeful plea in the last Line from The Inmate Remembers, “I can mend the song. I’ll try,” is a beautiful example of the way your work celebrates the human spirit despite the calamities of circumstance. Can you talk about that theme in your poetry (any other specific poems you would point to)? Any stray hauntings remaining from having written this collection (unwritten poems or voices left over from this subject)?

“I’ll mend the song. I’ll try.” Well, I think this line I’ve put in the young woman’s mouth goes back again to my experiences in early childhood and is repeated, as you suggest, in many of my other poems, especially those addressed to or about my mother. “Letter from Hilo” from The Tiger Iris is one.

Do you have a sense of where you’ll turn next, in terms of your poetry?

I haven’t given my next direction any thought. I’m still recovering from the hard work of writing Snow On a Crocus.

Any desire to talk about your readers’ reactions over the years to The Dark Path of Our Names? Any early reader feedback on Snow on a Crocus?

I have no idea how readers are responding to this new chapbook. It’s much too early yet. It’s also a little scary. At least five readers have told me how impressed they are with the artistry and two others have emailed me not once but twice telling me how much they admire the work. So many readers, as you know, read a book and never say anything about it at all.

As a fellow writer, I’m curious to know how it was to navigate writing about an incident based on family matters (which can be such a delicate negotiation). Has there been a response from your family about the volume?

When I started in earnest writing about this material, I worried all the time what the family would think, and hoped they might gain a new perspective. I was, of course, apprehensive, and sent one relative close to the young woman two or three poems in advance of the book publication. She’s also the only family member I’ve sent the finished book to and while she admitted she didn’t understand some or many of the poems, she acknowledged their sensitivity. She also said the book was a good teaching tool but that she thought the young woman herself, the protagonist, probably wasn’t ready to read it. (She’s served her time in prison, has graduated from college, and is now employed.)

How was your writing, or relationship to writing, shaped by your experience as a student of Theodore Roethke?

Theodore Roethke very much influenced me to write in a formal manner. Many of my poems are not formal but even in those poems I feel a necessity to avoid the easy conversational style I see so often now which usually, I admit, show a strict attention to the sound of the language, something Roethke passionately stressed.

When did you first begin writing?

I guess you might say I wrote my first little poem at the age of five, using all the wrong fingers on all the keys of my great-aunt’s Royal typewriter.

Any words of advice for young female poets, starting out?

You have to adore language, listen to the way it sounds, respond to your surroundings carefully and accurately, be prepared to write and rewrite, get involved with other poets, be willing to accept criticism, don’t curl up in a ball when a rejection slip arrives in the mail, and be ready for lots of competition.

Joan Swift’s website: zolpidem cr prices

 

 

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Poet Alexandria Peary

Editor’s Note: We ran Alexandria’s poems zolpidem ukraineand Rattle in May of 2013. We are running Alexandria’s interview today in celebration of our upcoming print poetry anthology currently in the works. The anthology will feature poems paired with interviews and is scheduled for release in the late summer/early fall of 2014 (check our website for updates).

In “zolpidem walgreens price,” you take us through such an intense image spiral that ends with the woman holding the lake by its handle, so surprising and startling. If we look at Merwin’s translation of Follain’s “zolpidem 10mg e 79,” in so few lines—eleven total–Follain moves us from the vast to the particular to the vast (language, to planet, to tiny flower, to a specific gate–overtones of the eternal again–to specific table and chair, culminating in the celestial move outward to image of the sun).

 I see you playing with scale in a similar fashion, moving from fruit to the intimate to making a sort of celestial body of the mother as fertile being, holding both inside of herself and outside of herself the family, by the “handle of the lake.” Can you talk about how Follain inspired this poem, where you feel you align and where you leap from Follain? Loved the images and leaps of intimacy.

I started really reading Follain’s work a few summers back and was drawn to how he pivots through imagery—by which I mean, he’s able to sustain ambiguity between lines. The reader isn’t sure whether a line of description is supposed to apply to what just preceded that line or to something else, something lingering a few feet away in what he’s already said. Follain’s poetry looks simple but contains great—sometimes seismic—activity, like with his “The Silence,” the poem which evoked my piece, “Fertility.”

Follain starts with a very long line, practically a thesis, from which the rest of the poem hangs: “In the depths of time a marvelous silence turns green.” How much each of those unpunctuated phrases pulls off! Then the second line of “The Silence” is “made of the cities, the towns, and the slopes.” Is the green silence made from these locations? Or does that landscape list apply to the third and fourth lines? It’s marvelous: as though Follain is building a holographic haiku, a syllogism that shimmers and reveals other layers.

One of the poems in my second book, “Prodigal,” is also an attempt to recreate this quality by Follain, and in “Fertility,” I was of course also borrowing Follain’s character of the woman. I wanted her not to die, however, as she does, crushed by a stone (which falls mysteriously out of that green silence). I wanted to give her an escape plan, so she stands at the end of a gangway, holding her genetic future, her family, inside a suitcase.

pill identifier 10 mg ambienis rich with play on locations, specific and tangible, those you’d find on the map to that stunner of a last line, “I am only a mile from my heart.” Can you talk about writing this poem? What inspired it? How you chose which images to string together, including the “door knob to the women’s restroom in a Starbuck’s” to “the granite floor / in the baby’s room”?

My one year of long and tortoise-like commute to teach at a college in Boston was the inspiration for “Oh, Massachusetts.” Each day (I still commute from New Hampshire to Massachusetts but on a much more friendly route), I wave to the “Welcome to Massachusetts” sign at the state border. I say, “Hello, Massachusetts. Thanks for having me back.” This poem is my equivalent to that hand gesture. It also speaks to my conflicted emotions back then (and now) as a mother of young children who has a demanding fulltime job outside of the house.

I’d get stuck in traffic jams, ones moving so slowly that my then two-year old daughter would have arrived at work sooner than me, and be staring at the side street signs, names of restaurants, objects on apartment stoops—hence, the detail in “Oh, Massachusetts.” What strings together these details is the sense of being on a path, a paved path surrounded by other people in the same boat. I always felt more than a “mile away from my heart” and from the crib where my youngest would surely be sleeping by the time I arrived home at night from work.

In “ambien uk availability”, so full of delightful definition play regarding writing itself, I’m moved by that last line, “Tears stream down the sunflower. Saying goodbye to / stop signs it passes on a rattling truck,” taking from it a sense of invitation to forego stop signs, both in thought and in terms of what a writer might write down. An invitation to play. Can you talk about writing this poem and where the last line took you? Or any part of the poem you wish to discuss?

“Rattle” is childlike (child’s rattle) but it also (at least to me) suggests adult dissatisfaction, feeling “rattled,” and needing to sit well with jangling, loose, rambling, awkward parts of existence. Part of one’s own poem can pass in front of one, rattling, distracting one, reminding one of the fundamental change and inability to find permanent balance.

How has your relationship to your poetry been affected by motherhood? You addressed some of the complexities of balancing writing, teaching, and motherhood for us over at Mother Writer Mentor in your guest posts, lunesta 2 mg vs ambien 10mg, and ambien 10mg generic. Do you have anything to add to the conversation on balancing writing, teaching and motherhood?

I feel immensely grateful to be a mother and a writer. I often can’t believe how my life has turned out. I think motherhood and the domestic life put useful timers on my writing life; they install planks over the well of time. I am aware of my three-dimensional obligations (fix school lunches, drive to daycare, honor the request to read a library book on the couch), and this awareness helps me see the limits of my life in the imagination.

What I mean is that the figures and emotions and imagery and developments which I encounter by myself in my mind while writing are usually that much more vividly delineated because I know my daily time with them is limited. I have less time to write, but when I write every day, it feels all that more sacred and existential. Writing is the Being inside me that may go unspoken as I lean over a child to wipe a nose or when I’m pulling wet towels out of the washing machine. Family is the Being inside me that leans over my shoulder when I’m typing and tells me that I can head back to them whenever I’m ready in the next hour or twenty minutes.

How did your Mindful Writing Blog: long term side effects of ambien 10mgcome about? How does keeping a blog impact or effect the poetry you are writing?

I started my Mindful Writing Blog one summer. I was working on the screened-in back porch, as I usually do during weekdays in the summer, on a rewrite for a scholarly journal. For me, it was an unprecedented amount of rewriting: I had never been asked to do so many revisions by a single journal editor. I was losing grip on the value of that type of research writing. As a sort of reaction, I decided I wanted to hurdle beyond the editorial process and develop a blog (though the topic, mindful writing or mindfulness pedagogy was altogether different from the journal article that kept boomeranging back to me).

I felt—and still feel—fulfilled when I check my blog stats and see that someone from Japan or Slovenia or Kenya was looking at my blog that day. It feels great to not be limited to a narrow academic audience, the twenty or so people who might actually read the scholarly journal article one labored over for six or seven months. I didn’t want to be limited to those sorts of conversations—especially about a topic like mindful writing which seems like it could provide some help to others who want to write.

What are you currently working on?

I always have several ongoing projects in different genres and different states of completion. To match the clutter of intrapersonal or inner talk—those floes that move past our consciousness. It helps because I can ask myself during each writing session: what do I feel inclined to work on right now? So I’m wrapping up editing work on a scholarly book (with Tom C. Hunley, Creative Writing Studies: An Introduction to Its Pedagogies, forthcoming in 2014 from Southern Illinois University Press), plus a pair of scholarly articles from the field of Composition-Rhetoric. I’ve also started work on my next poetry collection and really having fun with it. I’m holding off purposefully keeping my creative nonfiction fallow until I can get at least one of those scholarly articles sent out but intend to return to writing creative essays by late spring.

Who are your poetry mentors or can you list any favorite poems you’d recommend to other writing mothers?

My poetry mentors are Caroline Knox and Laura Mullen—both fabulously gifted and kind women writers.

Alexandria Peary maintains a dual career in Creative Writing and Composition-Rhetoric and her degrees include a MFA in Poetry from the University of Iowa, a MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a PhD in English/Composition from the University of New Hampshire, Durham. Her third book of poems, Control Bird Alt Delete, won the 2013 Iowa Poetry Prize and will be published by the University of Iowa Press in 2014. Her other books include Lid to the Shadow (2010 Slope Editions), Fall Foliage Called Bathers & Dancers (2008 Backwaters) and Creative Writing Studies: A Guide to Its Pedagogies (co-edited with Tom C. Hunley) forthcoming from Southern Illinois University Press in 2014. Her work has received the Joseph Langland Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Slope Editions Book Prize, and the Mudfish Poetry Prize. Her published research on nineteenth-century women writers was a finalist for the 2012 Theresa J. Enos Rhetoric Award. Her scholarship has appeared in College Composition and Communication, Rhetoric Review, Pedagogy, WAC Journal, Journal of Aesthetic Education, and New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing. Her poems and nonfiction have recently appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, Volt, Superstition Review, Hippocampus, and The Chariton Review. She is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Salem State University.

Additional Links for Alex:

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zolpidem best price (University of Iowa Press on Alexandria’s collection, Control Bird Alt Delete)

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You probably noticed our postings here at The Fertile Source have been fewer and farther between. Under the rigorous demands of sustaining our own writing lives, earning a living, and raising our families, Jessica, Kate and I are announcing today that we are in a submission hiatus for The Fertile Source until further notice, though we will still be posting here on the site. We are still accepting guest posts for our sister site,100mg ambien overdose, on an ongoing basis. We’d love to feature you there.

In the meantime, we have been busy compiling a print anthology of Fertile Source selected poems and interviews (work previously published on our website) tentatively scheduled for release in late summer/early fall of 2014. We are very excited about taking the poems on the road and breathing life into the years of work and hope you’ll join us once we organize the reading tour. We will post updates on this site as we select cover art and finalize the title for the poetry anthology.

Today we are blessed to have an interview with writer Laurie Klemme out of Iowa City–one of our writers featured in the upcoming anthology. We ran Laurie’s poems ambien for sale philippines in June of 2010. I met Laurie just after finishing my MFA program at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (she had already graduated). She was a lifeline for me (a reality check with heart) as I fumbled around in a post-degree funk clinging to that little piece of paper that confirmed I was a writer. Without many a cup of coffee in her kitchen to the din of her little twins bouncing on the mattress in the next room and without her firm and practical example of how to bridge her passion for writing into an income producing career as a teacher, I’d have floundered at much greater length than I did—thank you Laurie.

Your poem ambien 10 mg pill identification turns on a haunting sense of what is larger than us in direct opposition to what limits our ability to express our dual position as universal beings and very specific individuals living a certain life. I love that you are using poetry to address both our expansiveness and the limitations of language itself. Can you talk about writing this poem? And how poetry figures into your life as a person and as a mother?

I wrote this poem well before I had children. I’d stopped drinking 6 months before, and since I tended to be caustic when drinking (or I was telling you how much I loved you), I’d been hiding out. I hated myself at that time, and I was incredulous that anyone wanted to see me. I ran into Jeff Hamilton, another poet—he’s at Washington University now—and he said, quite firmly, “you have some friends and they’d like to see you.” I was overwhelmed by his kindness. I agreed to go with him—way out on a farm—to a party with our shared poet friends. I had been tortured by self-consciousness as a person, also as a poet in the company of other poets. At the first red flashing stoplight in town, in the car of this very kind man who’d stayed sober enough to drive us home, I was free of all that fear. Jeff later wrote to me saying he should have answered my question as to whether he believed in God, and he expounded on what he did believe. Again, his humility struck me since he had been a redeemer.

25 Watt Bulb also hinges on a sense of incredible vulnerability: the warm, eternal sort of cocooned possibility of early motherhood, when there “is time still to teach” one’s child about the good as well as the hard: “the other world” in which “flies crawl out the nostrils / of other little boys.” With the perspective of the passage of time, what would you say now, looking back, regarding those intense juxtapositions?  Have your metaphors changed over time, say, in the light of raising grown children?

For me, metaphors change all the time. I’m certainly not writing about Big Bird anymore, but I am grateful that these images made it into poems. I can see them vividly, and remember everything around them. Much more than by looking at old pictures.

As you know, I have twins. They were born in the Spring of 1992—the year of Bush I v. Clinton v. Perot. I don’t remember any election specifics (other than Perot with his huge drawing pad). At that time one’s political context—an aspect of our experience I care very much about—seemed irrelevant in the warm light of a 25 watt blub. As a new mother. And yet, this was/is the world our children live in, where they’ll find purpose, and where they will make choices of moral consequence.

I think it’s hard to raise free people. It’s easier to start them out with commercial cultural icons like Big Bird and Ernie—and graduate to Lion King Happy Meals (as we did) than to make uncommon choices which are more defensible, morally. In that poem, I am grateful that our culture gives new mothers a pass; that is, all I had to do was take care of the babies, and I had fulfilled my moral obligation to humanity. Looking back, I am very grateful I had this time with my children, and I do think we are more loving people on account of it, but I know I had light duty. I say this because when I became a single mother (of twins), no one asked me to do anything other than survive. I was regarded by friends as heroic. But so many women, so many American women, are mothers under far more trying circumstances—like working at a low-paying retail or factory job and eating mac & cheese to pay for childcare. And then there are women who have disabled children! I do not know how someone would be able to write under such circumstances.

Can you talk a little bit about the novel you are currently working on or returning to? About how writing poetry differs for you from writing a novel? Does it help to be a poet when taking on the task of writing a novel?

My working title (and the work is almost done!) is the Reclamation of Frannie Bodie. My protagonist is a 35-year-old woman who wants children. She is also being called to be an actor in the world. This could be pricey for someone raised on the promise of comfort, so she struggles to make an uncommon, heroic choice. Women’s honor hasn’t been explored as much as it might be. In my opinion, as much as it should be.

In my experience, there are three big differences between writing poetry and writing fiction: 1) the time-span of one’s commitment; 2) the necessity, in fiction, that characters move through time, make choices, and act; and 3) the need for more control of the process while writing something the size of a novel. I actually outlined the book I am finishing now. I’m way off the outline, but I had a very detailed outline. I would never try to control a poem like this.

The part of the process I love most is crafting something so it comes into focus like a black and white photo in developer bath. I discover half of a poem while editing. I can do this because a poem is short enough that I can hold the whole thing in my mind, edit, and not kill it. But a novel is too big for this and it’s a different challenge to really see it, edit it, not kill it, and not end up with a “big, baggy monster.” I learned so much about craft while I was in the poetry workshop at Iowa. I’m hopeful that this thing will have integrity as a literary artifact, but I sure wish I’d had the benefit of a fiction workshop. No doubt, I’ve spent time reinventing a wheel or two or ten.

What role has motherhood played in your relationship to your writing (you may have already answered this above)? Any advice for mothers trying to stay connected to their work through the childrearing years? Writing habits that have helped you sustain your relationship to writing? Or any other patterns or helpful ideas you’d like to share?

I’m lucky I had twins. They were close when they were little, and they played with each other. (Later, however, the fighting was a huge distraction!) Our house was also a play destination for other kids, so I could write, look up from my computer sometimes, make some snacks, and everyone was happy. There were times when my kids didn’t have my full attention and should have–particularly my daughter, who was navigating an interior life even more complicated than my own—but they did get thoughtful attention. I think every family struggles to meet their children’s emotional needs whether the parents are writers and teachers, or shopkeepers and stockbrokers.

The greatest difficulty I had as a writer who was also a single mother was with the business of writing. I wrote/write at home. I went out in the world to teach and brought home some freelance stuff, but home was a sanctuary. Dealing with anything commercial around creative writing felt like a threat to the safety I’d created for myself and my kids. My psyche wasn’t so resilient at that time. I had the usual fears that the world would beat me up, and I did have a lot to do. It takes a strong ego to assert oneself in the world and compete. I’d learned by then that my ego was no source of kindness and strength, and I relied completely on the promise of unconditional love to get through the day.

I wish I’d been able to resolve this earlier. It’s important that women participate and that they are heard. And not as a block, but with their myriad voices. Money pays for food and it reflects the attention and respect of others. Getting attention and respect is good for anyone. And apparently, the values common amongst mothers seem to elude some of our leaders—so mothers clearly need to be heard. So, my old crone advice is this: Don’t be afraid, go to war for your work, get heard, and get paid. Also, you can grade a lot of papers in the car during soccer and little league practice.

Any poetry mentors or specific poems for Fertile Source readers to reference specifically about children or motherhood you’ve found useful or inspiring?

Poems/Poets:

“The Bath” by Gary Snyder, “Morning Song” by Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Anne Bradstreet, and a million others.

 Essays:

Silences by Tille Olson, Women and Honor, Some Notes on Lying by Adrienne Rich, and anything by Joan Didion.

Laurie Burks Klemme lives in Iowa City where she earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, has taught approximately 100 writing courses, raised children, and written poems and essays while no one was looking. She wants it known that she is in no way sentimental about motherhood; however, it honestly has been the most challenging, exhausting, gut-wrenching, and important thing she has ever done. Now that her children are young adults, she is excited to be finishing her second novel after-which she will finish the first!

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side effects of ambien 10mgIn “This Whole Wide World is Just a Narrow Bridge” you bring together insights gleaned from your experiences with birth, death, and hospice. I will quote here from your bio, which proves to contain a poetic introduction to the is buying ambien online illegal: “Her book presents her reflections on what she learned from 12 years working at hospice, which corresponded with experiencing the intersection of the death of her mother, birth of her daughter, and own near-death experience post-partum. While the book speaks candidly about death, it is ultimately a celebration of life.” How and when did it occur to you to braid these strands together? Can you talk to us about the process of writing the book?

I started to journal intensively when my mother was beginning to decline in a more serious way, and I knew she was probably nearing her final months or weeks. Writing helped to contain and make sense of all of my grief feelings. At just about this time, I had also given notice that I would be leaving my bereavement manager position at hospice, after working there for a dozen years, to transition back to full-time clinical work (in a group psychotherapy practice). My daughter at that time was 5.

My mother ended up dying about a month after I left hospice. The timing of things allowed me to have a true bereavement period, as I was slowly building up a caseload and so had a few quieter months of working less than full-time, and thus more time to write as well. As I continued to journal, I realized that I wanted to explore and integrate my experience not only of losing my mother, but of all I’d learned through my years at hospice, as well as my transition into motherhood.

Because I’d gone back to work when my daughter was just 3 months old, I didn’t have adequate time to fully contemplate my traumatic birth experience (which almost killed me) and her birth. As I grieved my mother, it seemed the perfect opportunity to deeply reflect upon the experience of being mothered and becoming a mother, as well as the ephemeral and sacred nature of life.

My writing ultimately was very therapeutic on many levels and became a bit of an obsession! It poured out of me. As I began to share some of it with friends and family, they encouraged me to turn it into a book.

Two beautiful and powerful ideas you present that support the image of the bridge in your title have to do with ways we could better stand to support women in transition: post partum doulas and mentors to help fill in some of the void following the loss of one’s mother. Do you see these types of relationships fostered in our current society? Has it changed at all since you wrote the book? Do these concepts find expression in your professional life as a spiritual counselor? Are there specific pathways or structures you envision our society constructing (maybe these already exist?)?

Unfortunately, I don’t see these relationships fostered enough in our society. I wish our health care system would cover care such as that provided by post partum doulas—whom I think provide such a wonderful service—so that they could be available to most women. The period of adjusting to a new baby in the family is such a vulnerable one for families. I do think grief counselors and women peers in support group can fill in as mentors for women bereaved of mothers—if women have an opportunity or inclination to go for grief counseling (but unfortunately many don’t).

I also think it is a shame that many women are socialized not to ask for help for themselves, and therefore don’t look for the opportunities that do exist. I do feel that I get an opportunity to fill in these voids of support for some women, in my work capacity as a counselor or spiritual director. I have to remind so many women that I see that while it is admirable that they want to protect and care for their children, husbands, parent(s), etc., they have to be sure to put on their own oxygen mask before assisting those around them.

And can you talk about your title and how you landed there?

The title evolved over time. The working title was very bland: “Reflections of a Hospice Worker: How I Learned to Embrace Life.” An author relative of mine suggested that I flip the clauses, “How I Learned to Embrace Life: Reflections of a Hospice Worker.” That was better, but still lacked something. And the fact was, I no longer worked at hospice at my final stages of writing.

I have always loved the Hebrew song based on the quote by Chasidic rabbi Nachman of Breslav: “This whole world is a narrow bridge, and the main thing is not to fear (but to have faith).” I was still thinking about a title, when I began to hum that Hebrew chant. I then replaced “Reflections of a Hospice Worker” with “This Whole Wide World is Just a Narrow Bridge,” as in “How I Learned to Embrace Life: This Whole Wide World is Just a Narrow Bridge.”

Finally, a friend who read a more final draft of the book suggested I drop “How I Learned to Embrace Life.” So you can see how many people helped birth the title! I like the final product: it is poetic and captures one of the book’s central themes, that there is a thin line between life and death and that life is tenuous and precious.

You spend some time in your book reflecting on your assumptions about your mother and how they shift not only as you prepare to become a mother, but as she nears death. What do you take forward from these shifts in perception regarding your own mother as you in turn mother your own daughter? Will you share your book with your daughter (if you haven’t already—I’m not sure how old she is)?

I think that when one becomes a mother, one naturally reflects on how one wants to parent the same as how we were mothered and how we want to do it differently. This process is heightened when one loses a mom, when one is sorting through the positive memories as well as the negative ones. I learned from my mother both how to parent and how not to parent. Both lessons ultimately are valuable.

My mother was very warm, loving and ultimately supportive, and she also had her areas of struggle. Since it is so automatic to do what was done to us, we really have to be conscious about the things we want to do differently—so that we don’t pass on any mistreatment that was done to us. My mother, for example, imposed many of her own ambitions onto me, although they weren’t necessarily a fit for me. I hope I don’t do the same to my daughter. I hope I am a better parent because of all the things I learned from my mother.

My daughter has seen the book and has scanned it to find her name (mentioned several times!) When I do readings, she wants me to read the parts about her!

Have you had any reaction from the hospice community regarding your book? (I could see it being used in the classroom, for example). Similarly, within your faith and your religious community? How did you choose the metaphors of faith you used in the book?

I am pleased to have received excellent feedback from both my colleagues in the hospice community and from my faith community–rabbis, spiritual directors, and religious educators. It was important to me to include the issue of how faith can help one through times of loss and crisis. I observe all the time how faith—no matter what “brand”—sustains my clients.

It is important that people have a way to make meaning during times of difficulty: this might be a religious, spiritual, or existential meaning. And for me personally, working close to death as well as experiencing the miracle of birth while brushing near death, all heightened my appreciation of the mystery of both life and death, intensified my sense of awe and strengthened in me a spiritual sensibility.

Any desire to share us with your work as a consultant for grief-related films (sounds fascinating)? Any specific scene you found powerful to work with or help shape?

I got to be a consultant for Pixar for the movie “Up.” It was a wonderful experience! I was very impressed by how much research went into making the grief experience of the old man in the movie so realistic. During a long afternoon interview with the makers of that film, they asked me detailed questions about how such a character would experience his grief and what might help him to resolve it. We talked both about the use of a memory book as well as how mentoring a child could help one navigate through grief and feel a renewed sense of meaning in life.

Who helped nurture your writer self? Any mentors you’d like to share with us?

I have loved writing since I was my daughter’s age, 9, and I hope she’ll get as much satisfaction from it as I have! I remember various English teachers encouraging me, particularly the editor of my high school literary magazine, for which I was an editor. More recently, two of my supervisors at Hospice in particular supported and encouraged my writing.

Can you tell us a little bit about the novel you are currently working on or any other writing projects?

I am working on a novel about a young woman, who’s just been suspended from her ivy league college, who crosses paths at a New Age intentional community with a 50-something year-old woman who’s just been diagnosed with breast cancer. So it’s about two women, each facing times of crisis and transition, discovering what gives their lives meaning. Similar themes to this book, but with more room for creativity, and character development, and humor. Now, if I could only find the time to work on it . . . .

Any advice for writing mothers?

I would say to cherish and guard those private moments for writing! As moms, we need to replenish ourselves in order to be present and loving towards our children. The creative process, however we tap into it, can certainly help with that.

ambien price comparison is a licensed marriage and family therapy, certified spiritual director, and former bereavement department manager.  She currently practices in Santa Rosa and specializes in grief and loss, life transitions, and counseling on spiritual issues.  Her book (generic ambien names, Infinity Publishing, 2011, available at Amazon) presents her reflections on what she learned from 12 years working at hospice, which corresponded with experiencing the intersection of the death of her mother, birth of her daughter, and own near-death experience post-partum.  While the book speaks candidly about death, it is ultimately a celebration of life.  Alissa has been a Hollywood consultant for grief-related films.  In her personal time, she enjoys laughing with her husband–a stand-up comedian–and keeping their daughter entertained.  She is currently working on a novel. Alissa also appears on ambien 5 mg vs 10 mgwith host Mikala Kennan (a half-hour indepth interview).

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zolpidem online cheapEditor’s Note:

The Fertile Source is proud to announce Kate Bolton Bonnici as our first Guest Poetry Editor for the coming year. We first met Kate in our Poetry of Motherhood class (offered last spring, through our sister site, 1mg xanax 10mg ambien). Both Jessica and I were moved to hear that the sort of gritty, honest, grappling poems we publish at The Fertile Source had, over time, provided solace and inspiration as Kate faced her own challenges with mothering while writing.

As a result of Kate’s vibrancy, enthusiasm, and level of engagement with poetry (both her own and that of others), we realized we wanted to keep working with her. A graduate of Harvard University and New York University School of Law, Kate writes poetry that speaks for itself (read five of her poems effects of long term ambien usage). Starting September 1, 2012, please send poetry submissions to kate [@] catalystbookpress [dot] com.

Welcome, Kate! –Tania Pryputniewicz (Managing Poetry Editor, focusing now on role as Art Editor; send art submissions to tania [@] catalystbookpress [dot] com.)

buy ambien online overnight cod” tenderly charts a fragility between husband and wife, both partners attempting to stay connected while parenting (scrapping for time together, time apart—the need for time apart landing in this poem more squarely with the wife). Can you talk to us about the emotional landscape of the poem and the process of writing it?

“Robbery” was my attempt to explore the complex space between parents after the birth of their children, the ways their relationship to each other has changed, their understanding of self has changed. They are new people now — overwhelmed, physically and emotionally exhausted, in love with their children, tired of their children, frantic for time together and time apart. I think of it as treading water in an impossibly beautiful sea.

Parenting the children you love creates a remarkable place, but you still must keep your head afloat; it’s hard to reach out for your adult partner when you’re so busy flapping and kicking and taking big gulps of air. Sometimes you remember to lie back, float, look up at the turtle-shaped bits of clouds, and it’s a nice time to reach over, hold hands. Of course, that’s usually when the other one is stuck in his own treading-water thing, and he can’t hear you pointing out that your funny turtle-cloud just morphed into a pink dinosaur.

Our children have deepened my relationship to my own husband; we are fused together now in a profound way. That said, it is so easy to miss each other in the clamoring chaos of daily demands — including the demand for separate space and time for the self.

A quiet grace emanates from your poem, “Morning, Los Angeles,” from the opening admission, “Two now reach for me, want to hold / more than I can give,” which sets the stage—adds a simple poignancy to a line halfway through that reads, “My mother went for a run / and didn’t return.” Where in the drafts of writing the poem did the mother of the narrator enter the poem?

The narrator’s mother entered this poem in the first draft, but I’m not entirely sure where she originated from — one of the mysteries of the imagination or the unconscious, I guess. I set out to write about obsession and, as the mother of two young children (the younger being very young at the time this poem was written), what emerged was not autobiographical or historical truth, but two things, really — an emotional truth (the utterly consuming feeling of having “two now reach for me”) and a need to stretch this feeling to its most painful outcome, abandonment. In the poem, the narrator walks through her own mothering experience under the weight of this loss. It lurks, this pain, this temptation.

“Blood lines” picks up the narrative thread of mother haunting, examining in part how in becoming a mother oneself, memories of one’s own mother resurrect, reappear on a cellular level, here along the axis of “torn perineum.” How did you arrive at that amazing final image of that narrator’s mother’s birth-ravaged body, “holding her re-written body like a shaky glass egg that could lope away end- / over-end down the street”?

The narrator’s mother in “Blood Lines” did not appear until significantly far into the revision process. Earlier versions of the poem were purely a communion between mother and child, but somewhere along the way, I knew I needed to get more precise about the pleasure-pain tension one feels after birth, even a peaceful one, but especially if you have experienced tearing or an episiotomy. (I remember first hearing about episiotomies from my mother and being horrified at the notion. How barbaric! Then, contrary to my wishes, I had one with my first birth. During the birth of my second child, I had some tearing, but the dear midwife who sewed me up was so gentle, just as she was throughout the birth. Her soothing voice set me on a different course of healing.)

When I wrote this poem, I had in my mind the image of a quilt, of the literal lines woven by perineal stitches, the way my birth marked my mother’s body in this specific, physical way, the way the birth of my daughters did the same for me. This was the image I kept coming back to, and it led to the memory of new mothers taking their first steps after birth, the timid, ginger putting of one foot in front of the other, after your body has gone through the all-consuming process of birthing a separate being.

More, that fuzzy period just after birth felt like the first time I’d really understood my own mother, an honest glimpse into her experience. She was also there with me during the delivery of my first child, rubbing my calf, and would have been there for the second, except I needed her to do the important work of watching my firstborn.

In “My Former Object of Everything,” you take the risk to bare the push and pull all mothers (who have more than one child) learn to withstand: dual love for the firstborn and intense frustration aimed at that firstborn when the second child comes along and that firstborn does what he/she does best: clamor for attention, etc. How did you arrive at your final draft? Are there other tensions (for mothers or fathers) you have yet to see explored in poetry that either you wish to explore or you’d like to see others exploring in poetry?

In my line of work (work away from writing, that is), I see tremendous pain in family relationships, families that are deeply splintered and broken, often wounded beyond repair. I think this experience underlies some of my writing about family. It sneaks up and darkens the world of the poem I’m creating.

That said, I was blindsided by the difficulty of caring for two children. I was blindsided by how draining the first child’s great need would be and how the strength of my connection with the baby would create unexpected tension. As with the other pieces in this group, I wanted to take my emotional experience and run with it into a poem, moving away from the literal and autobiographical into a new poetic space, one that would, I hoped, illuminate what hides at the fringes of the self.

Of all the poems in this submission, this poem most grew and shrunk over the course of the writing-revising process. With each draft, it expanded and compressed, expanded and compressed, until finding its current state.

I am fascinated by (and a little afraid of) missed connections between people, and the anger and frustration generated when we cannot connect. The theme of missed connections threads through all of these poems, I think, as I struggle to understand the realities of family life. With each poem, I try to write what is hard, what gives me pause, what makes me worry. When I feel myself retreating, questioning, looking over my shoulder, I think, there, there it is, write that! Some days I am brave — I write. Other days, I put down my pen. Fix another cup of coffee. Put away toys or turn up the radio. I don’t listen. When I write, I’m trying to listen, to be willing to explore the fullness of a moment, in all its mystery, glory, fear, dullness, uncertainty. I’m trying to push this further, to be braver, to write it all.

Can you talk to us about your relationship to writing, before and after the birth of your children?

Midway along my pregnancy with my second child, I felt a strong need to start writing poetry, after spending my entire writing life focused on fiction and creative nonfiction. It was quite a shift, but a necessary one for me. I’ve written poetry almost exclusively for the past year and a half. There are days when I write less because of my children. Then, there are days when I connect more intensely than ever to my writing and feel ravenous for it — in part because of my children. Plus, they give me tons of material. Joy and suffering and the gritty beauty of the everyday — it’s all there in the relationship with and experience of children.

How does poetry figure, if it does, in your professional life as a lawyer?

I’ve struggled with answering this question, and I think the answer is that there is a complex relationship between my lawyering and my creative writing. Stripped to their most fundamental cores, words and narrative are central to both fields. I am more precise in my legal writing because of my work as a poet. I edit my legal work on a micro level; words matter desperately in law as in poetry. And good, honest storytelling is just as necessary. Each side in a lawsuit must tell their story their way; the lawyer is there to help facilitate that process.

The tougher, but equally necessary, answer to this question is to consider the way my career as a lawyer influences my poetry. I practice primarily in the areas of criminal defense and family law, two deeply rewarding, deeply important (in the sense of fundamental rights and basic justice and all that good stuff), but deeply difficult fields. Frankly, no one seeks out my help unless their life is falling apart. The substance can get morbidly dark indeed, and I am witness to tremendous sadness and personal anguish as a matter of course. I think the experience of standing near the unfolding of intense, traumatic episodes in the lives of others has challenged and changed my writing.

How do you find time to work, to write, to parent, to tend to a marriage?

Ah, this is the question, isn’t it? In fits and spurts, frantically, often poorly and with bursts of goodness and delirious devotion. Seriously, as we all experience, every day is a struggle. Every day something gets shut out or forgotten or plainly rejected. (Today that thing was a balanced meal. Sometimes cereal will have to do.) I try to write daily or at least most days, and I consider time spent revising to be time spent writing. I often write late at night snuggled up next to a sleeping baby. I also run, reaching a nice, meditative place where I can work on ongoing poems or construct new ones.

I am thankful for my mother, my role model, and I am grateful to my husband, for truly getting it. Some days when my older daughter pretends she’s a grown up, she says she’s a mother and a lawyer and, oh, she must go write a poem! On those days I think I’m doing okay.

Any special poems or writing mentors you wish to share with our readers?

My aunt, Patricia Foster, has been my lifelong writing mentor — patiently reading my stories and poems (going all the way back to elementary school rhyme schemes and princess illustrations), feeding me a steady stream of new books for as long as I can remember, providing a template for the writers’ life, and crafting so many lovely sentences for me to soak in and learn from. Her novel, Girl from Soldier Creek, is forthcoming in October.

There are so many poets whose work I admire deeply — Beth Ann Fennelly, Natasha Trethewey, Mary Oliver, Laura Kasischke, James Galvin, just to name a few.

I just finished reading Elizabeth McCracken’s An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination. Exquisite, haunting, and yet breathing with little gusts of joy.

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We published Bonnie Peters’s short story, “ambien cr generic pictureseveral weeks ago. Here, she speaks with us about writing and raising a daughter with disabilities.

ambien tabs 10mgWhat was your inspiration for your short story “A Hole in the Roof”?

Years ago, I taught a Sunday school class my daughter Sara attended.  Mark 2:1-12 was to be the story for the week and as I read and reread the scripture to prepare, the words bothered me.  I knew the story held an important truth, but I was afraid the students and most importantly Sara would only see the literal message – that Sara or her family had sinned and the punishment resulted in Sara’s physical disabilities.

 I solved my problem the coward’s way by skimming over Jesus’ words to the paralytic and emphasizing the message of how far we might go to help our friends.   The story tells about faithful friends lifting up a full grown man to the roof of a house, and then tearing a hole through this roof to lower him to a place of healing next to Jesus.  The tale inspired me.  The words sin and forgiveness frightened me.

Not long after the Sunday school incident, Sara and I were shopping.  As I pushed my daughter’s wheelchair between racks of clothes in a department store, an employee walked up to us.  Without even a greeting first, the man offered what he must have felt was life changing advice.  “If you had more faith, she could walk.”  He no doubt meant well, but my anger at the man’s insensitivity kept me awake for many nights.

I held these two events inside until I worked them out in a story.  As always, the characters took off in their own direction.  I never resolved any major spiritual questions, but the scripture is no longer scratching at my heart.

 

I love the way you link a mother’s desperation for her daughter to be well, whole, healed with the biblical story of the friends who lowered a crippled man through the roof so that Jesus could heal them. The ending of your story has so much pathos, with your main character Anna realizing that she, too, would do whatever it took—anything—if she just knew where to look to find healing for her daughter. Can you talk a little bit about your artistic impulse in leaving this aspect of the story open to so many different possible interpretations?

 When we first adopted Sara, I had the arrogance to question how any mother could give up their child.  Because I couldn’t understand it, I wrote about it, trying to experience life from the eyes of a mother in a different place than the one I have enjoyed.  I wanted to know her emotions, her questions.  That is why I read stories.  That is why I write stories—not to tell my story, but to feel their story.  I didn’t want to tell the reader what decision Anna made; I wanted the reader to feel the pain of having to make such a choice and ask herself what decision she might have made under similar circumstances. 

 I grew up in a Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Cosby Show type family.  It is easy for me to love God as my Father because I have a fabulous human father that I honor.  It was easy for me to adopt and care for a child with severe disabilities because I grew up with a mother that nurtured and loved me.  As an adult, I also had support all around me, the support necessary to cope with the not so normal aspects of parenting a child with disabilities.  My husband and I had everything we needed to walk, climb, and lift another person to some level of healing and comfort, and that is what Jesus expects us to do.

 

As a teacher of teenagers with disabilities, and as a mother to a child with similar disabilities as Marah’s, can you talk about the unique challenges  a single mother of a child with cerebral palsy and possible mental retardation faces? Are there resources out there to help her?

As a teacher of children with mental and physical disabilities, I knew how difficult parenting a child with many needs would be.   And I was quite certain that I would never be up to such a task. 

My husband and I gave birth to an adorable little boy and when he was five, decided to adopt a little girl from Korea.  God had other plans and led us to Sara.  In spite of my reservations, it was love at first sight.

Sara became our daughter when she was three years old and lived with us until she was twenty-four. She has spastic cerebral palsy that involves all four limbs and is also mildly mentally challenged.   At first, Sara only had a vocabulary of ten words.  But competition with her new brother caused rapid growth in her expressive language abilities.  She learned to speak so she could tell her brother what to do or not to do and then tell on him when he wouldn’t comply with her wishes.  As with all children, you laugh, you cry, you are amazed, you are sometimes even horrified by the things they do and say.  I think these moments are intensified with children who have disabling conditions.  Sara has inspired me, energized me, frustrated me, and exhausted me. 

With her big hazel eyes, thick brown hair, and a beautiful smile, Sara could and still can charm the most hardened personality.  When tickled by something, she laughs from her belly.  10mg ambien not workingWhen Sara is angry, she can scream with a pitch just shy of breaking glass.  She is a master manipulator, very observant of details, and has bionic hearing when it comes to things you don’t want her to hear.  She loves to know what is going on in everyone’s lives and then tell everyone else.  I learned to not skinny dip in my backyard pool ever again if I don’t want Sara’s entire elementary school to hear about it.

 I didn’t find the challenges of parenting a special needs child too daunting early on.  For one thing, I knew our daughter had cerebral palsy before she was our child, so there weren’t any expectations shattered.  I also didn’t carry the guilt many mothers mistakenly feel after giving birth to a child with disabilities.  Because Sara was a special needs adoption, financial support had been set up for us even before the adoption took place.  If Sara had been born to me, I would have had to seek out and maybe even fight for the financial help.

I don’t want to sound like it was an easy twenty- one years while Sara lived with us.  It wasn’t.  The stress of constant care-giving built over time.  Sara was tiny for her age, yet the necessary tasks of diapering, dressing, bathing, and lifting her from one position to another quickly became exhausting even with the help of her father.  At ages three, four, five, even six – it wasn’t much of an issue.  By the time Sara was a teenager, I was building up some muscles and tired of wiping her butt.

When I worked, I had a part-time helper assist me in the afternoons.  Still, I had to take time off to drive Sara to appointments at orthopedic clinics, neurology clinics, and wheelchair clinics. Sara had physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.  So far she has needed six major surgeries with week -long hospital stays and two or three outpatient surgeries.  The home care after the surgeries was often brutal.  I found myself sobbing uncontrollably after spending too many nights of getting up every two hours to change her position and/or to clean diarrhea out of the half-body cast the doctors had bound her in. 

 Sara became the major focus of our lives.  She had to be.  We made time for our son, but probably not as much time as we would have had his sister been more physically able to do things.  Family vacations had to be limited to ones that didn’t include hiking, biking, kayaking, or going anyplace lacking in wheelchair accessibility.  Otherwise, one of us needed to be left behind, making the vacation a little less family oriented. 

Wherever we went, Sara was given plenty of positive attention.  A cute little girl in a pink wheelchair is not a threat or scary to even young children.  People were very accepting, accommodating, and helpful the majority of places we went.  They often went out of their way to speak to her, tell her how cute she looked.  

I still remember the time we attended a county fair.  Alden wanted to win one of the huge stuffed animals and tried many times at various booths—penny toss, shooting range, balloon busting, etc.—but only managed to win a tiny plastic toy.  My husband and I gave him the “you can’t win them all”, “the fun is in the playing, not the winning” talk and he was buying it until one of the carnies took pity on Sara.  She had also been playing the games with a lot of help from her dad, but still hadn’t come close to winning even the smallest of prizes.  The man at the penny tossing booth gave Sara one of the coveted bears, a brown teddy as big as she was.   Alden smiled, but I could see how invisible he felt. 

Life is much easier now.  Sara moved to a group home four years ago at the age of 24.  Her home is next to the school where I teach and we see each other a couple of times a week.  She manages to text or call me a couple of times a day, and attends all family and holiday gatherings.  

We—myself, Sara’s father, step father, brother, step siblings, and the extended family- are all so thankful to have Sara woven tightly within our lives. The difficulties have only made the fabric of our existence richer, rarer, and more luxurious.  But I am well aware of how much easier our journey with Sara has been because of the support system we have been graced with. 

 Do I understand how Sara’s mom could make the decision to give her up?  Yes, I believe I do.   My heart breaks for all the Annas out there living in circumstances that require them to even consider giving up their child.  I applaud their bravery and their sacrifice for making a selfless choice, either direction they take.

Did you worry about how Alden might have responded to your choice to adopt a child with disabilities, given how that rearranged the focus of your family?

I worried about Alden feeling slighted until he showed me a paper he had written his senior year in high school.  Alden was asked to write about the most important year of his life.  He wrote about the year we adopted Sara, 1987.

In his paper, Alden told about some of the frustrating times.  “If I felt like jumping right into something and Sara was with me, I couldn’t because of her needs.”   He mentioned the disappointing times.  “They (friends and their siblings) could play on the swings or go swimming in the pool and play basketball outside, but I wasn’t able to enjoy those things with my sister.”  But he concluded on a positive note.   “Even though there have been tough times, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Sara has made me a better person, and I thank her for the things she has taught me. ”

Do you have any regrets about how your family responded to the challenges of raising a child with disabilities and a child with no disabilities?

Giving birth to my son and adopting Sara are two of my greatest blessings.   I didn’t and don’t always appreciate those blessings.   When Alden became a teen, I had regrets about giving birth to such a mean, disrespectful, ungrateful human being.   I questioned the sanity of anyone who even thought about having a child.  Why give birth to someone who hates you?  Sara to this day can become so frustrated and angry that she takes it out on anyone close enough to scratch or be deafened by her piercing screams.  Those are times I daydream about life without a disabled child.   But my moments of regret are fleeting.  I thank God for both of them, 99% of the time. 

What stories are you working on now?

Two months ago, my husband (Sara’s step father) and I were given the opportunity to share our home with a young man who didn’t have one.  It has already been an emotional ride, full of ups and downs and swift turns.  John and I are old enough for AARP cards and having a teenager living with us brings back feelings and fears we had long forgotten.

Our new charge has seen plenty of difficulties in his seventeen years, and his life story has motivated me to write.  I don’t know where his character will lead me.  I’m not sure if we will stick close to the truth or if a new story will appear in the writing.

I am also revising and updating a couple of young adult books I wrote years ago. 

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ambien salesYour poem zolpidem tartrate 100mgcharting fertility, ends on the sweet and surprising metaphor of a cowgirl—how did you arrive at that metaphor?

I had the image of a flailing sort of surrender, a frustrated reaction to all the different sorts of white-papered journals and charts—what I was eating, what my morning temperature was, how many days since a particular pill was taken. The flap of a flag in the wind reminded me so much of that bucking bronco, which is how that image eked its way into the poem. Later, when I was pregnant, I wrote the poem ambien cr 12.5 mg half life; it turns out I wasn’t completely done with cowgirl imagery.

In “Sleeping Pill” you marry fairytale to the mundane, with such lovely imagery as the beanstalk, the fire flies, nightlight. Can you talk to us about writing this poem?

Oh, whenever I count out my pills, and at my height it was over a dozen, my husband teases me about needing one of those pill-a-day organizers—I’d hold them in the creases of my hand, and I’d think to how those seeds would look in my palm each spring—the largeness, the plumpness of the beans always surprised me. I think this was the trigger. Often, when I write a poem, I just let my brain crack open and see where it goes—I love the chase of it. I also love best the poetry that connects the mundane, the domestic, with the fantastic—with rich verbs and surprising metaphor, personification.

Can you tell us about the project you run, Balancing the Tide: Motherhood and the Arts? How did you become involved and how did the project develop?

A lot of interesting things happened in the winter of 2010/2011. In December, my chapbook was published. In January, my daughter was born, after a tough conception, a tricky pregnancy, and a complicated labor (and an infection and a few months later, gallbladder surgery). I was pretty well walloped, and I was supposed to defend my thesis in May of 2011, but it just wasn’t to be. That spring, I could have easily seen myself abandoning poetry in lieu of becoming some kind of Super-Mom—keeping up with the house, teaching my daughter sign language, making sure the dogs were walked twice a day as they had become accustomed, keeping the household accounts in order, knitting and sewing her clothing, all at once, in a kind of frenzy. What was left of me? In January, I only read one book. For me, that’s unheard of. The year before, I had read easily over two hundred.

I realized I couldn’t lose that part of me, the poetry part. And I was hungry for other narratives about how people did it, but also for how people failed too. We don’t admit these things often enough—that it’s hard and we mess up, but it’s the collection of imperfections and foibles that make up our journey, right along with the best bits. It’s also an incredible excuse for me to contact artists I admire. About twice a month, I put up an interview with an artist-mama, each with the same questions, and get to learn about how she does (or did) it. It’s meant to be a space of comfort—of commiseration and inspiration.

Any desire to talk about your role as Poetry Editor at Midway Journal?

That’s been an interesting development! I edited poetry for dislocate when I was in the MFA program, and I’ve judged for the Minnesota Book Awards. I originally came onto the journal as a reader in October to help my friend out, who is also a poet and book artist. But my role morphed pretty quickly, and now I’m editing poetry for each issue. I’m excited about some of the poets we have in our line-up—and some of the poems have just given me chills. Some people are exhausted by the slush pile and I admit, when it builds up, it can feel a bit like a marathon, but what I love the most is finding that gem by someone whose work I’ve never heard of before—people whose work I want to champion and show off and read over and over again. Poems that echo in my brain long after reading them, that ought to be carried around and recited to strangers in the street. I also delight in getting poems from solicitations by poets I deeply admire. It feeds me, this work.

How do you balance motherhood, writing, and your duties as a poetry editor and interviewer?

I’m a stay-at-home-mother, much as I hate that term, and even worse—when people use homemaker, mainly to fill in that requisite box. My home is a lived-in mess. Yes, we eat together at the table, but I’m lucky enough to have a husband who is more likely to whip something up than I am. We’ll take time together to clean the house in a guests-are-coming frenzy, but my days are really spent reading to Maya and putting puzzles together and pulling weeds (and sometimes, oops, not-weeds) in the garden, etc. I think if I were teaching, which is what I did before Maya was born—recently at a university and before that, high school English—I might not have anything left for writing. Teaching and mothering are both such amazingly wonderful and exhausting occupations, and so is tending to what I consider my professional life, the life of poems. Of course, there were times when I’d get into a rhythm and would write a poem at the start of each prep period or when office hours were slow—I think that’s a big factor, rhythm.

I recently attended a reading of Tracy K. Smith at Minneapolis’ Loft Literary Center, and she was asked a very similar question (she has a two-and-a-half-year-old). She said being a mother has removed her ability to procrastinate, and I think that’s exactly right for me too.

My husband will go to sleep with our daughter (we co-sleep) and I’ll sneak back downstairs and stay up late to submit poems or read—I get into that in-and-out rhythm and can get a lot done in small spurts. I also have a very dear writing group of women, and we will have poetry dates and we’re working on a collaborative book-length sequence of poems inspired by the aubade, and having that kind of accountability helps keep me moving. I also tend to write about my subjects in-the-moment, so Pine was written as I went through doctor’s appointments and little pains and great yearning and whatnot. It’s trickier with a toddler who takes busy up several notches (she is, delightfully, a Kiefer, after all), but I’m learning to write while balancing a writing notebook on her stilled noggin or just running lines in my head over and over until I can get them down. I dream of retreat, but I also cringe at the idea of leaving her. Sometimes I’m jealous of my poet-friends as they are childless by choice or not quite ready yet, so they have a bit more geographic and time-freedom than I do, but then again, when I had that freedom, I was a procrastinator. I’m more prolific now, I think, and it’s out of necessity. If I didn’t let this part of me live, I might not be free to be the person my daughter needs me to be. It feels good, these selves.

Any mentors or favorite poems on the subject of motherhood you’d like to suggest for our readers?

Oh, I’ve read so much in preparation for sending Pine into the world—I wanted to make sure I felt I had something new to add to the discussion and was aware of others who had gone before me and are going at the same time as me. I’ve started a collection of resources I turned to on buy ambien cheapest. I can say I really loved The Grand Permission: New Writings on Poetics and Motherhood, edited by Brenda Hillman and Patricia Dienstfrey, Beth Ann Fennelly’s Great With Child: Letters to a Young Mother, and the work of Sharon Olds. I read “Bathing the Newborn” and “High School Senior” when I was seventeen, and Olds’ rich, savory language made her my first and to this day, absolute most favorite poet. I also really enjoyed Kimiko Hahn’s Narrow Road to the Interior and Leslie Adrienne Miller’s Resurrection Trade, which aren’t strictly about motherhood but do integrate motherhood and the body into some gorgeous poems. And Rachel Zucker with her honesty. I could keep going—there are so many good writers out there. Right now, I’m slowly working my way through Not for Mothers Only, an anthology out from Fence, and it too, is good stuff.

Can you tell us a bit about the subject matter of your chapbook, The Recent History of Middle Sand Lake?

The Recent History of Middle Sand Lake is a kind of love story to my grandparents—my paternal grandfather, who was a professor, as was my grandmother, developed a rapid and severe case of Alzheimer’s, which was startling and disorienting for me. It was the first I observed someone I really cared about disintegrate in body and mind, and there were so many understated but raw feelings there—the old love of my grandparents, the life of a man whose world was language becoming surreal, this geography that was a part of my childhood and rapidly changing. I think the body will always be a huge curiosity for me—I love anatomy textbooks. Marianne Boruch, whose work I admire, was able to take classes as a professor at her college, and she took life drawing through the art department and a cadaver lab through the medical school and came up with a sequence called “Cadaver, Speak ” that was published in The Georgia Review. I remember thinking: I’d love to do that!

Can you tell us about your current writing projects? Anything in the wings?

Writing-wise, the full-length book Pine has begun to make its way to contests and between submissions, I scrub it up a bit, add a new poem, take out a poem, add an image that came to me. And I’ve started a third collection, which is a bit wider in scope than Recent History or Pine. I’m writing poems that I consider profile poems—not persona poems, but ones that bring to life experiences of women. Verse Wisconsin just accepted one that was written in observing Hillary Clinton and Aung San Suu Kyii met the first time called “Two Women in Turquoise.” I’m interested in writing poems about women whose lives I’d want to point out to my daughter, down the line—women who were brave, in some way or another, who lived in a full, open-arms kind of way. And I’m still writing poems about mothering, but more so as a feminist—there is a poem in Stymie about the roller derby, another in Harpur Palate about a sexual harassment experience I had in seventh grade and the desire to be proud of one’s body, etc.

I’ve also got that aubade—we have a document that shuffles between the four of us, and once a month, we contribute something to the conversation, with a few rules to keep its shape. I think what they say about MFA programs—that the best thing that comes from them is the friendships and connections you make—is absolutely true. I know by reading these women’s work and by really listening to what they have to say about the work that they love, I’ve broadened my own horizons. Sometimes we’ll read a volume together, sometimes we’ll simply get together and read poems out loud to one another. Sometimes we’ll go on hikes and come back with nothing by mosquito bites, laughter, and thunderheads.

One writing-subject related development is that my daughter, who is turning eighteen months old on July 3rd, will become a big sister in February! This is very fresh news to us, and a bit of a surprise as it happened naturally, coinciding with my starting a regimen of infertility treatment, which I didn’t need to finish, it turns out. Sometimes my breath catches with how blessed I’ve been, how blessed I continue to be.

Molly Sutton Kiefer’s chapbook The Recent History of Middle Sand Lake won the 2010 Astounding Beauty Ruffian Press Poetry Award.  Her work has appeared in Harpur Palate, Berkeley Poetry Review, Gulf Stream, Cold Mountain Review, Wicked Alice, and Permafrost, among others.  She serves as poetry editor to Midway Journal and curates Balancing the Tide:  Motherhood and the Arts | An Interview Project.  She currently lives in Red Wing with her husband and daughter, where she is at work on a manuscript on (in)fertility and finishing her MFA at the University of Minnesota.  More can be found at zolpidem tartrate 10 mg snort.

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generic ambien pill identifierWhere/when did you find support for your writing and the dilemmas you outline in “A million tiny things: a mother’s urgent search for hope in a changing climate”–read excerpt on The Fertile Source ambien cr price comparison— (the tension between one’s ideal eco-choices and practicality: ie., jumping in the roomy mini-van with AC vs. the tiny hybrid where flying elbows make better contact and a far more stressed out mother at the wheel)?

Here I have to give full credit to my ex (my wife, The Pragmatist, in the book; we got divorced just after the narrative ends). She is a dancer and we had always made her pursuit of her art a high priority in our life choices; when I began writing after our daughter was born, she was very encouraging of my need to pursue my own creativity. So she allowed me the time, when we could find it (that eternal caveat), to get a lot of the initial writing done.

The end result of your observations often drew a laugh from me as I read, for the candor, for the all-too-familiar equations and resultant equivocations you managed to nail. How did you come by the humor?

Honestly, I think I was in a state of extremely heightened anxiety, as the crumbling state of my marriage added to all the (very real) eco-concerns I talk about in the book. I was sublimating that other life anxiety into the environmental stuff, so it was really pretty extreme. And that kind of crazy anxiety is… well, funny, when you cop to it (and even funnier when you exaggerate it). I find humor in glimpsing the dark edges of life, when they aren’t sucking me all the way over the edge. So the book tries to ride that line.

Once my ex really took off and the anxiety slid into real depression, I was scared that taking antidepressants would take away too much anxiety and make me unable to write. I get all earnest and that’s just so… earnest (i.e. boring). Of course, once I realized that crying constantly wasn’t really helping me find the humor in life either, I caved. Thank god. My next book will be about getting off those pills, and the humor is in that story too, but it sure is harder to draw out.

I loved the way you gave “personality profile” names for your children that weren’t their actual names: Bright Eyes, the Percussionist, Mowgli. How did you navigate writing about your children, thinking about them reading the book later, etc.?

I definitely want to preserve my kids’ privacy as much as I can, within the larger template of broadcasting the details of their lives to the whole world. I want them to feel in control of their own life narrative, so renaming them as characters allows both them and other people to perceive a little distance between my actual real-life kids and their book selves. I don’t post photos of their faces and you can’t tag me in photos on Facebook (unless they ONCE AGAIN changed all my default settings when I wasn’t paying attention) because people will tag my name with a photo of my child and I just don’t like having their images attached to any real name. It’s perhaps my Luddite side, or maybe I’m a closet libertarian, but I want them to make their own conscious choices about exposure and privacy. As long as I can write whatever I want to write. So, the names, I feel, both illuminate the kids and obscure them a bit. (They love them, too, especially Mowgli.)

How did you balance motherhood, working, and writing? Any words of advice for writing mothers?

Yikes. I hate that I’m about to say this, but, well, I’m just too lame to come up with something more original and it’s actually true (if unbearably trite): my word of advice is “balance.” I have to continually rearticulate my priorities to myself and others, so I can remember that for me (and I know this isn’t the right order for everyone), the kids come first, my nursing career second, and the writing is third. Which is not to say that I haven’t thrown our lives into complete chaos for the last few months so I could bring this book into the world; it’s just that if getting the next marketing task done would mean I’m not available to help with homework, it’s the marketing task that doesn’t get done.

And I’m way behind on my blogging, but I’m going on a bunch of field trips this spring that are taking me far from my laptop. For me, having clear priorities lets me deal with the day-to-day when I’m feeling like I should be doing lots more to give the book its wings, and instead I’m playing catch. I interviewed one publicist and when I got off the phone with her, I just KNEW that she would make me a famous writer, but I also knew I would have about ten stress-related health conditions when we got there. So I hired a more low-key consultant who helps me but who doesn’t really understand Twitter any better than I do, which is just fine, since she takes pressure off of me instead of adding it on.

That all said, if I had it to do over, I would have taken a leave of absence from work for a couple of months (if I could have afforded it) and filled my deep freeze with easy meals or frozen pizza and hired a housekeeper and an assistant. The book launch is not the time to be pinching pennies—it’s more of a break open that piggybank and give it all you’ve got moment.

When in your process of writing the book did you realize you were writing a book? How long from start to finish and what were you the most surprised to learn as you went through the process?

Let’s see, the youngest was born just as I turned 38, and I started writing a few weeks later. It was on my 40th birthday that I admitted to myself and a few of my closest friends that I wanted to turn it into a book. And the book launched the week of my 44th birthday, as the “baby” turned 6. There were several non-productive post-divorce depression months and almost a year of waiting for my editor to have time to get to my manuscript (my brilliant and wonderful all superlative editor—it was worth the delay). Most surprising to me was simply that I was actually doing it—I barely even finished any of my college papers. So I was pretty thrilled to see myself having matured enough to follow such a big project through to completion.

In your Q and A session in Sebastopol at Copperfield’s last week, you mentioned that this book chronicles a very specific time in your life when the tighter domestic orbit of the household with three children underfoot heightened a sense of helplessness and anxiety about the world the children would inherit. You mentioned a current book project as well as an action-oriented blog. Would you share that blog link with us and talk a bit about how A million tiny things propelled you towards your second book project and your current philosophies?

Um, I also think I said I hate blogging and am not very good at it (reference above where I say I’m behind). But I do it, some. Here are the links: zolpidem tab 10mg and zolpidem tabletas 10 mg

The Million Tiny Things blog follows my meandering thoughts in general about parenting, the environment, activism (check last August’s posts for my arrest photos), and sustainability in all the various senses of the word. The school garden blog was really intended to connect parents to our school garden program and what we do there, but that’s the blog which will inform the next book as it will be about how all those moments of composting and craziness are what pulled me back into the land of the living.

As for the change in my focus, writing A Million Tiny Things helped me articulate and observe that particular batch of anxieties, and then not have to hold them so tightly. I also think it’s a natural evolution for mothers to emerge into a wider sphere as their children do, so I think it’s just a normal progression for me to be more focused on the bigger picture now. Systemic solutions, ho!

But on the way to the larger picture, I need to stop and look at the process of grieving and pain that has led me there. The first book was written as an act of service to other moms who might be feeling crazy like me and could use some company in that craziness. Then, when I was getting divorced, I immersed myself in other people’s divorce narratives as means of finding that kind of company for myself. I hope to offer my story into that library of healing possibilities; how we can connect our hopes for the earth and our children with our hopes for ourselves in a very concrete way. So some other mom who is bereft and suicidal can feel she’s not alone there, and that there’s a way out.

Any mentors you wish to share with us, or suggestions for further reading?

Oooh, yes. I adore Laurie Wagner, who teaches in-person in the Bay Area and also online. When I was just dipping my toe in the water of the writing thing, she had me write a list of what I wanted to write about, and that list could probably serve as a table of contents for the book. That reminds me, I need to get in touch with her as I think her particular style of pushing you into the truth of your story will be essential to getting me past the initial difficulties of writing a book about depression. Her site: 100 mg zolpidem.

And for writing about motherhood and the environment, Sandra Steingraber’s Raising Elijah is my favorite. She doesn’t fritter away her energy on non-productive anxiety like I do.

Full-time nurse, part-time environmentalist, and all-the-time mother, Kenna Lee lives in Sebastopol, California, with her three semi-feral children and several domesticated animals. Her book, A Million Tiny Things: a mother’s urgent search for hope in a changing climate (Mole’s Hill Press, 2012) is available now through your local independent bookseller; for more information, visit her how much does ambien 10 mg cost on the street.

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Tasha Cotter

Your prose poem, ambien hallway party opens with a clean, crisp image of “men in hard hats dart[ing] like bats in a gray air.” Can you talk to us about your process of writing this poem? How you decide when to use the prose poetry form? (Or to blend traditional stanzas with prose poetry, as you do in “Description of a Figment and a Letter to Imagination?”)

Even now A Lack of Power at the South Central Women’s Clinic seems strikingly different from much of my other work, the language and scene feels more raw and exposed. The poem came about when I was in a lobby, waiting to get a physical (it was a requirement before I could work with kids in the schools). Like so many of my poems, I used one element of reality to begin sketching a fictional world. For me, it feels like taking the essence of something and building a world to anchor it.
The poem began like this: I got a journal out and began braiding threads together–segmented thoughts and abstract concepts all started fitting together. The man at reception, the discomfort that arises from the most trivial things. I asked myself what if you were very scared? I tend to be a very discreet person, very secretive too, and so I used a voice much like my own in this prose poem–a form I associate with Baudelaire and the french, that’s being reimagined and redefined by contemporary poets like Sarah Manguso, Laura Kasischke, and Ann Carson.
I sat there scribbling for a while, hoping that I didn’t seem too strange, lost in my frantic little world in the Professional Park Plaza. It was rainy and cold out–a combination that always puts me in a gloomy mood. I remember feeling better once I got most of the poem on the page. It felt like I’d had a parallel anxiety that only found relief once there was something on the page. Odd, I know. The whole business of writing continues to alert me to aspects of myself I didn’t know existed….
You preface “Description of a Figment and a Letter to Imagination” with a few lines by poet Sarah Manguso. Can you talk to us about what draws you to Manguso’s work?
Sarah Manguso has been a very important influence on my own work. My two favorite books of hers are “Siste Viator” and “Captain Lands in Paradise.” I still remember how I felt after first reading her poem “Address to Winnie in Paris.” Dickinson said that she knew poetry by the sensation of “her head being taken off” and whenever I read Sarah Manguso’s work, that’s how I feel. My other two favorite poems of hers include “What we Miss” and “Love Letter (clouds).” The world gets re-ordered when I enter her poems and that’s what I look for in poetry. I was always drawn to the surrealists and the dada movement in Paris always captivated me for that same reason. I love Man Ray’s work and Duchamp’s—when I view their work it’s like something in me is being fed. Poets like Rusty Morrison and Ilya Kaminsky are other poets who just continue to inspire and astound me. They infuse my life with beauty and so I return to them again and again.
The poem Description of a Figment and a Letter to Imagination is something I’ve been working on for about three years now. It’s one of those poems you put away for a while and re-visit every six months or so, tweaking a line-break, checking the language, and basically improving it incrementally. The poem arrived too fast–I’m always suspicious of anything that comes about too easily, even if it feels nearly right. I don’t know where the idea for the poem came from, but when I re-read it a few months ago, I had a new take on it–it felt spacious and airy.
The white space seemed to operate like stage lighting for the beginning half of the poem. For some reason I kept imagining a white landscape when reading the poem–a blank modern shell of an apartment that comes off as distant and cold. The poem seemed to defy intimacy and inhabit it all at once. Now, more than ever, I see the poem being about the possibility of fertility–there’s something about life giving rise to life that seems so mysterious, so unexpected to me. Sometimes I just sit and meditate on what feels magical in an effort to understand it better: the notion of birth, some technologies, computer languages… I am endlessly fascinated by these things.
One of my favorite lines in “She Shouts at the Absence,” is the one that suggests, “Talk like a cowgirl who has chased an animal / For days, in a lonesome expanse of burnt orange country.” How did you arrive at this image? Any desire to discuss the writing of this poem?
I wanted to begin with a directive of sorts. I’d seen it done before and I liked the effect of pulling the reader into this world. I begin with “Go to a party…” and I wanted to continue building this world and guiding the reader. At the time I was living out west, surrounded by a burnt orange landscape. Mountain sage grew wild. I’d never seen anything like that vastness—it’s an image that still stays with me because of how compelling it all was—it just made a big impression. I was living in Colorado and I couldn’t help but think about how land—spectacular places like that—have this ability to minimize all other preoccupations and really transport you out of yourself and out of all that is human. You can’t help but feel small and a little awestruck. You start to question the great mysteries when you’re living in the shadow of a mountain range.
It’s that feeling I was trying to capitalize on when I was writing the lines you mention in your question. When you’re facing something that vast—when you’ve lost something that could by now be anywhere—you can’t help but feel lost and a little hopeless, but it doesn’t keep you from searching, even if what you need remains unreachable. I’ve always looked to the land for contrasts in my work. Naomi Shihab Nye has this line in her poetry about inheriting the ability to stand on a piece of land and stare. She’s not changing it, not transforming it, but looking as if to find something—to receive something just by that gesture of being present. I grew up in the rural south—I’ll always crave a certain amount of distance between myself and the rest of the world.
Some say it’s necessary to find “one’s voice” in their work. They work and work until something stabilizes–the voice, themes, language. To an extent, I understand what they mean. But when I look over my own work there are several personalities present: contradictory theories on life and lots of literary forms at play because I’m constantly experimenting. Maybe there’s a common denominator that I’m missing, I don’t know. The truth is I pay little attention to genre, focusing almost entirely on whatever it is I’m trying to communicate. I’ve written a three page poem before and I’ve written a hundred word story. As a writer, it feels like society wants to find a label for each piece of writing, though I think journals are getting more comfortable with accepting pieces whose form is irregular and resists classification.
Any mentors you’d like to share with us?
I was an undergrad at the University of Kentucky when I met Nikky Finney, who was a hugely important figure in my life. I took two of her courses—Poetry 407 and 507. She was a constant inspiration. She made me think of myself as a writer, constantly treating me like I was a peer. I’d never met anyone like her. Her comments and feedback on my work were exactly what I needed. I remember she had us all keep a word journal in which we were to turn in ten new words each week—a short definition and a sentence on why we chose each word.
I kept my words in a black moleskin journal—I still have it. I remember I logged a lot of hours at the William T. Young library that semester, trying to find the most interesting, most poetic words to include in my journal. I still have that journal—it’s like a treasure chest. She motivated me to think differently and to observe everything. At the time my poetry was rather cryptic, not anchored to the ground at all. She opened my eyes to narrative and accessibility in poetry. I was thrilled when I heard she received the National Book Award in Poetry—it couldn’t have gone to a more deserving poet.
For a long time I called poetry home, though I never, ever called myself a poet. I didn’t even like the term writer. I surrounded myself with books by Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Plath, and Joyce growing up, so I don’t think I’ll ever feel right referring to myself as a writer or poet. I remember in June of 2006 getting a package of books in the mail from Nikky–(all by Guy Davenport) she’d written ‘Poet’ after my name on the front of the package she’d mailed to me. I’ll be honest: seeing that title after my name thrilled me, but, despite being immensely flattered, I rejected the whole thing, opting instead to identify myself as teacher, educator, advisor. Anything but writer. Anything but Poet.
What are you currently working on?
For the last two years I’ve been in the midst of writing fiction. When I heard that The Fertile Source wanted to feature three poems, I felt a bit like a prodigal daughter, finally home after a very long trip away. I re-read the work and began to recall the choices I made. I remember who I am when I return to my old surroundings. There was poetry, waiting for me though I’d been away for some time. There was something comforting about being back–after all, poetry was what started it all for me. It has personally defined me for so long now. It’s been a lens I’ve used to give shape and meaning to my life.
Right now I have two full-length poetry manuscripts in need of a publisher. I’m not very good about entering contests–the whole thing can get pretty costly in no time, so I’ve been doing research on small, independent presses. Although I’m mostly working in fiction, I almost always have a poem I’m polishing–at this point it’s an act that I’m convinced is bound up in my identity. I like the element of understanding and the process of discovery comes with trying to capture the nuance in what I see and what I feel. In terms of publishing, I try to always have some of my flash fiction or poetry circulating among the literary journals. I’ve found that having a background in poetry can be a very useful skill-set for a fiction writer. I’m convinced that working in more than one genre can only improve upon the other.
And Tasha, for fun, we noticed the guitar in the photo on your website. Is music part of your poetry?
The picture on the website was taken at Normandi Ellis’s PenHouse Writer’s Retreat in 2011. It was an open mic event. I will say, though, that the idea of flight and music play a big part in one of my poetry collections. I’ve always been fascinated by bird imagery—Booth published a poem of mine titled “Goldfinches” last year. Some of my work seems to orbit both of those elements. It’s also true that I listen to music a lot when I’m writing. Right now I’m listening to Bon Iver, Lana del Rey, Vetiver, and The Shout Out Louds.
I want my work to be sonically pleasing. Without fail I always read my poems aloud as I’m editing them. I want the sounds to sort of inform each other. If a line feels clunky, or I leave out a word when I’m reading the poem aloud, I know something needs correcting and I’ll work to smooth out the language.
Tasha Cotter’s work has recently appeared in or is forthcoming in Booth, The Rumpus, Contrary Magazine, and elsewhere. Her fiction was recently nominated for a story South Million Writers award, and her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net Anthology 2011. You can find her online at ambien price.

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78 ambienorder zolpidem overnight,” right off with that title, takes us into unmapped emotional territory. Not only for its secondary implied point of view, but for the serious subjects it juxtaposes (miscarriage and a cancer in a child). Can you talk to us about the process of writing this poem and how you arrived at that stellar title?

People often say that men can’t understand pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, etc., because they have never physically experienced it, which becomes particularly problematic when men attempt to control or legislate what goes on inside women’s bodies. This poem came about because I wanted to envision a scenario through which a man might gain a better perspective on miscarriage. Because the boyfriend in the poem has experienced a situation where his body (in this case, his bone marrow) was unable to sustain a child’s life, he begins to understand why a woman who has had a miscarriage might be unwilling to try again.

“Heat” continues this push into unmapped fertility/sexuality territory, with that feral metaphor of the over-heated, hatched female “sterile, chunky / aggressive” fending off the fertile females, landing beautifully with the closing image of the pull to female to female passion. Again, can you talk to us about your process and choice of metaphors, if there are other images you are further working with in your poetry along these lines?

I’m fascinated by the animal kingdom, especially when it comes to mating rituals, and I often find that describing a literal phenomenon that occurs in nature allows me to then explore metaphorical issues that impact my own species. The sex and breeding behavior of a gecko is directly determined by environmental factors, whereas the environment of human society dictates what behaviors and expressions of sexuality will be regarded as deviant or defective. The speaker’s anger issues may be a result of her prenatal environment, but what provokes her anger is social constraints and a one-size-fits-all mentality; when given free expression, her condition becomes celebratory. Another metaphor I’ve used is the feeling of wanting out of one’s own skin, which I compare to reptiles who literally shed their skin.

I found “’Inappropriate’ Lactation after a Miscarriage” incredibly moving—thank you for writing this poem. Have you encountered other poems in your reading history along this topic (I know I haven’t yet) that you would point our readers toward?

Thank you. I haven’t actually come across any poems that portray this particular aspect of a miscarriage, which is one reason why I wanted to write about it.

Any poetry mentors or other inspirations you’d like to share with us?

All of these poems were written while I was a student at Vermont College, where I worked with Betsy Sholl, Leslie Ullman, Natasha Saje, and Roger Weingarten. I enjoy the work of Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, June Jordan, and Lucille Clifton, among other feminist poets. I also admire Sharon Olds’ use of the body as subject matter and Pattiann Rogers’ use of animals as metaphors.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently enrolled in the PhD program at the University of Cincinnati, where I’ve been working on a series of poems that explore my experience with chronic illness.

And just for fun, (if we assume the pet shop source is personal and not projected), will  you be sharing the poems with that owner?

That poem was inspired by several pet store owners I’ve encountered over the years, none of whom would appreciate being immortalized. My pets, however, are fans of my work.

Laura Thompson earned her MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of the Fine Arts and is currently enrolled in the PhD program in English and Comparative Literature, with a certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, at the University of Cincinnati. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Tributary, The Rectangle, and Tiger’s Eye. She is also a part-time English and Creative Writing instructor and serves on the editorial staff at the Cincinnati Review.




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