I am pleased to be included in the Mother's Day feature at the amazing online journal, Escape into Life. I always love the way Kathleen Kirk, the poetry editor, combines poetry and art: it's often unsettling and enriches both the poetry and the visual image.
My offering: my poem, "Orpheus Visits the Fertility Clinic." It begins this way:
"Orpheus considers the frozen
embryos of his dead wife.
Long ago, they preserved possibilities.
and now, he pays the price."
I had originally submitted it as a possibility for Valentine's Day, but Kathleen wanted to hold onto it for Mother's Day. It's an odd inclusion, but it works--I am biased, of course.
I have also written a poem, "Cassandra Visits the Fertility Clinic." I think the Orpheus idea came first, but I have a memory of one idea informing another as I wrote.
It's an interesting way to write poems, transporting figures from mythology into our modern lives. Some day, perhaps an enterprising grad student will write a dissertation about which figures I've used most.
Right now, it's Cassandra, Penelope, Persephone, Orpheus, and the occasional Eurydice poem. I wonder if my preferences will change as the years go on. I'm not writing as many Persephone poems as I once did. In the past five years or so, I've been returning to Cassandra more than any other figure. It doesn't take a genius grad student to figure out why.
If I taught a poetry writing class, I'd challenge students to write a Mother's Day poem that avoided clichés, both the good and the bad.
I'd direct them to the Escape Into Life feature to see how others have responded to the challenge.
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