Blood Mother

By (author): Su Croll

In her passionate second collection of poetry, Blood Mother, Su Croll casts fresh light on the timeless maternal life of women. Collating singular moments in the unfolding narrative of birth, she draws us into the emotional interior and shifting identity that comes with new motherhood, from the simple desire for children to the chaos and pain of labour, from the meditation on a child’s first breath to the long-wanted birth of a second child. Always mindful of the relationships between mothers and tackling the feminist challenge of representation, Croll asks how mothers are meant to see themselves when the language itself seems insufficient. Set against Alberta’s urban and natural spaces, Blood Mother answers with remarkable originality in poems that never background the frustrations of motherhood while celebrating the rapturous pleasures that many women are summoned to in giving birth to their children and our families.


Su Croll

Su Croll’s first book of poetry, Worlda Mirth won the 1992 Kalamalka New Writers Competition and was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. She has studied English and visual art at the University of Ottawa and writing and film at Concordia University in Montreal. Widely published in Canadian literary magazines and anthologies and the recipient of numerous awards for her fiction and poetry, Croll teaches English as a Second Language and lives in Edmonton with her husband and children.


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Excerpts & Samples ×
fruitful we are fallen into words flimsy female language a dialect of oranges and asters we say flowery because of the light insubstantial purple swollen plums of language that are read as purple prose and to be newly in leaf and blossom to be fresh picked a budding rose is to be light womanly there is no non-gendered language though even the presence of the word gender and its other hidden face already weigh down this leafy construction I am left wordless unable to explain my fertile ovulating conceiving gestating labouring delivering lactating body I should stop trying for more formidable words more heavy-weight dialogue because the language of vegetation of fruit and flowers of ocean and moon is the shape women have taken in language our blood clichéd and rooting us to nature the only way we can be described lungs forced open as if accuracy were an end in itself I don’t know how to live I don’t know clocks and I don’t know leaves yellow in the wide flat palm of prairie to foot hills I am living in I don’t know what part of the country from colours practically unfamiliar what time of day what season I barely know my husband at this altitude in this west how he lives and moves through the high and dry of this air he walks across a river to a downtown job I can’t imagine I don’t know how to live there’s breathing and eating and looking at yellow trees before wind takes their leaves I don’t know how the television can stand itself brewing pictures frenzied crowds forcing open locked doors I don’t know how the barricades can endure I only know my stubborn stretched skin barricading the body and life forcing itself on a flesh coloured wind of shrill oxygen into my daughter’s open mouth the moment she was pulled blue from my slit open abdomen that slim red scalpel line marking me in that second before life begins with breathing I don’t know anything but the body the body of this western city the country of my own body residence of my daughter my heart blood mother in art god sucks life from the breast of the virgin a hard breast held like a lean pear in his hands this picture is christened madonna of humility as if in giving life she is drained of power yet god grows fat on the milk that is mirrored in the painted air above her as stars of the milky way decorate ceilings in church her name is humility as if the milk is not everything this wash of milk from the human mother as if it is not gifted from the body of a woman grafted to the god of the word as if this is not miracle enough these red and gold images stain the wood of the icon etching the holy made flesh the christ the child is grateful at the breast of the queen of heaven god is overwhelmed with the sweet goodness of she who takes away the hurt of his hunger his huge eternal blood mother shrugging away the painted halo as she draws her child to herself and allows him to put away the pain of the world

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96 Pages
9in * 6in * .29in


September 20, 2008


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Book Subjects:

POETRY / Canadian

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