In the Mother’s Day Bundle
Overlap, by Valerie Bence. Cover design by Amy Louise Evans.
Valerie Bence’s latest poetry pamphlet is a testament to ordinary lives, and a meditation on grandmothers. Part memoir, part family history, Overlap is a series of vivid vignettes from the poet’s childhood, courtship, motherhood and grandmotherhood, spanning the 20th and 21st centuries. Bence’s grandmothers Winifred and Harriet are at the heart of this book. She reflects on their hardy, steadfast lives as she too becomes a grandmother, in very different times. Stranded from her family in the Covid-19 pandemic, the poet conjures up their ghosts, walks in their footsteps and – sometimes – feels herself become them.
“We mash tealeaves and bran for the rabbit,
the sweet aroma fogging her glasses,
and every day, for five shillings a week,
she scrubs bloody butcher’s aprons.
We take the clean ones back on the bus,
until the day she faints outside Boots in the rain,
sliding down the wall like in a cartoon,
her wartime hat slipping over her eyes.”
Page count: 36 | Publication date: 27 January 2022 | Paperback ISBN: 9781912915941
The Emma Press Anthology of Motherhood, edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright.
A powerful and moving collection of poems about motherhood, from a variety of perspectives. There are poems about beloved mothers, difficult mothers, expectant mothers and not-to-be mothers; mothers trying their best and mothers falling short. This anthology examines the depth and complexity of emotion surrounding motherhood, and sensitively portrays the darkest thoughts of exhausted mothers. We wanted to make this book because of conversations we’d had with people about how there are some things you’re not meant to say and barely meant to think as a parent, and we wanted to create something which celebrated motherhood at the same time as challenging the huge expectations placed on mothers.
“My mama wraps me in an aguayo,
packs me into its colours as tightly
as mince meat tucked into an empanada.
She pulls up her pollera, then throws
me from my aunt’s seventh floor window.
I am alone with only an open window
and seven floors to fall for company.
I am falling towards my brother in London.
I am falling for the sweet-seller’s baby.
I am following her down the street as a I fall.
I am as small as my mother’s black doll
whose head broke off and never got fixed.
I will always always never not fall.”
– ‘Dreams of Falling’, Katherine Lockton
Paperback ISBN: 9780957459670 | Publication date: 27th February 2014 | Page count: 96pp
One day at the Taiwan Land Bank Dinosaur Museum, by Elīna Eihmane.
This is a picture book for adults, framed as a bedtime story (and love letter) to the author’s son. It follows the events of the little boy’s birth, and his mother’s struggle with her new role. In stunningly raw writing that cuts straight to the heart, Eihmane tells a story about love and where love comes from. The book is beautifully illustrated by the author, in dark blues and reds, with expressive, blotchy artwork. The book is tactile, printed in risograph and stapled for a welcoming, open feel.
“Today you made an anger pile: you threw our
laundry, books, coins, toothbrushes, plastic
animals and my wet rain jacket into a pile
on the floor. You were so angry.
I said: Make it as big as your anger.
You added chairs, seeds, more clothes, scissors and the
Travel Taiwan book. At some point you started
Page count: 40 | Publication date: March 2021 | Paperback ISBN 978-1-912915-66-8