So I did my last day of teaching on the MA yesterday, and I’m wrapping up my last bits of work this week. Pretty soon there’s going to me nothing in my diary between me and my due date, and I’ll be flung, fully, back into the thick of motherhood. In preparation I’ve been reading Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, one of the most original, thoughtful, radical books about parenting I’ve encountered, which ends with a terrifyingly accurate description of childbirth (‘The pain cavern has a law, its law is black shudder’).
It seems appropriate timing that Bloodaxe have also just put up the blurb for my next book, Incarnation, the poems I’ve written in the three years since Gruff was born, along with the cover image, which I’m thrilled is by one of my favourite artists, Louise Bourgeois.
I have an embroidered hanky by Bourgeois on the wall on my study which says: ‘I have been to hell and back, and let me tell you it was wonderful’. I will be keeping that in mind during labour…
Although I’m taking some maternity leave from in-person teaching until August, I should mention that I will be using my ‘keeping in touch days’ to reprise my online Poetry and Parenthood course for the Poetry School next term, starting on May 9th. If you’re interested in exploring the subject with me as I live through those milky, sleep-deprived first months, there are still places so do sign up! We will look at lullabies, nonsense, Sharon Olds, gender politics and more.
In the meantime, I love this poem ‘Save Your Flowers’ by Dorothea Lasky about her premature newborn, that seems to recognise both the joy and the fear and risk of a new life, with her ‘tiny vixen / Milking and milking, blue note on blue’.
Will blog again on the other side….