I Carry My Mother
"Lesléa Newman's I Carry My Mother is perhaps best described as a love letter to her mother, Florence, who passed away from cancer in 2012. Yet from the first poem, 'Safe Passage,' to the last, 'I Carry My Mother,' Newman's latest collection of poetry will ring true for anyone who has suffered the loss of a dearly loved mother. In her latest collection, Newman explores her mother's illness and death, plus her own deeply experienced grief, employing simple language, realistic images and a wide variety of poetic forms. Interestingly, over a dozen of the poems were inspired by other poems made famous by Wallace Stevens, Dylan Thomas, Muriel Rukeyser and other well-known poets. My favorite of these is 'Letter from Mom, Postmarked Heaven,' which was inspired by 'This Is Just to Say' by William Carlos Williams. Its light, almost hopeful, touch is a welcome hint of a better life beyond, after a long time of suffering. However, perhaps most moving to those of us left behind is 'How to Watch Your Mother Die,' a spare, straightforward piece about tending to a loved one in his or her last days—and the tremendous emotional experience that is."
-- Karin B. Miller, The Cancer Poetry Project, Vols. 1 & 2
"These poems have a percussive insistence on rhyme, rhythm, and form that reflects both the relentlessness of mortality and a life's worth of turning to poetry at harrowing moments."
-- Susan Stinson, author Spider In A Tree
"In a passionate book, Lesléa Newman chronicles her mother's dying and the phases of her own grieving. She fuses an unsparing realism with lyrical intensity, in honest, direct, clear language, in mostly rhymed stanzas. The pages seem to tremble with an accurate description of changing emotional states, all born of the closeness, humor, and love in the mother-daughter relationship."
-- Naomi Replansky, Author of The Dangerous World and Collected Poems
"After the introductory poem I thought 'oh dear, I'm going to cry my way through the whole thing.' And then, the exquisite first-rate poetry—using forms like triolet and rondeau—took me to a much deeper place than tears can possibly reveal. This is a very beautiful book."
-- Judy Grahn, Author of A Simple Revolution: The Making of an Activist Poet
"Throughout her long career, Lesléa Newman, has distinguished herself by diving deep into the essentials of life and delivering them with a light touch. The poems in her new collection, I Carry My Mother, are both light and dark. They are small rituals that draw us closer to the child within, revealing the complex love between a vivacious mother and an independent daughter. Each verse is a spiritual chant; each line is a lyric glistening with grief."
-- Jewelle Gomez, Author of The Gilda Stories