THE MOTHER/CHILD PAPERS
Momentum Press, 1980; rpt beacon Press, 1986
University of Pittsburgh Press; Reissue edition (February 28, 2009)

 

The Mother/Child Papers
Begun after the birth of her son during the Vietnam War and a few days following the shooting of four students at Kent State, Alicia Suskin Ostriker's fourth book of poetry is a moving and profound experience of birth and motherhood--juxtaposed against the violence of war. A feminist's affirmation of motherhood, The Mother/Child Papers confronts ambivalence, love, guilt, fear and pride and is a book whose politics are a passionate plea for peace.

 
It is startling to read the early pages of this book: where, before this, was the literature of squalid bliss and righteous woe of taking care of an infant? It is alive in Ostriker....one of the most intelligent and lyrical of American poets.

             --Valerie Trueblood, Iowa Review
 
 

Ostriker's work details the achievement of a connection between personal history and public fact as both present themselves to a very intelligent writer....Nothing in the novels of Margaret Drabble is as afecting, as convincing, as a few lines of Ostriker's.

            --Mary Kinzie, American Poetry Review
 
 

Ostriker's project is to recover the truth of mothering, both the joy which has been denied and the murderous rage....She asks, "Why are mothers always repreented sentimentally, as having some sort of altruistically self-sacrificing maternal feelings, as if they did not enjoy themselves...another love that dares not tell its name?" So she asserts the sexual pleasure of breast-feeding: the perfect union of mother/child...."Writing like a woman" also means freely acknowledging "unmotherly emotions," the darker side of mothering.

            --Kathe Davis, Sojourner
 
 

(On the second edition:) I welcome this reissuing of The Mother/Child Papers, for they are documents as well as poems, an essential part of our history. 'To grow means pain,' as the poet has said. For this pain let us be grateful.

            --Maxine Kumin
 


Table of Contents
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To Order email:
ostriker@rci.rutgers.edu
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Poem excerpt:
pp 3-6
His Speed and Strength