Every poet is a mother's child, and many of our greatest poets have immortalized this elemental relationship. This anthology collects the work of more then seventy poets from across the centuries and around the world, each enshrining the miracle of motherhood in language at once distinctive and yet unfailingly intimate.
Here, alongside the work of poets as diverse as Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Sylvia Plath, is the work of tenth century Japanese poet Izumi Shikibu, the seventeenth century's Anne Bradstreet, Israel's Yehuda Amichai, Ireland's Eavan Boland and Paul Muldoon, and Russia's Marina Tsvetaeva and Anna Akhmatova. Audre Lord recalls "How the days went / While you were blooming within me"; Sharon Olds considers how her daughter's "two dark eyes shine / above her body like a good mother and a / good father who look down and / love everything their baby does"; and Langston Hughes imagines a mother saying to her son, "Don't you fall now—/ For I'se still goin', honey, / I'se still climbin', / And life for me ain't been no crystal stair." From Christina Rossetti's "To My First Love, My Mother" and Emily Brontë's "Upon Her Soothing Breast" to Allen Ginsberg's "Kaddish" and Frank O'Hara's "Ave Maria," the range of form and feeling is as varied as the experience itself.