Birth: A Literary Companion
Genre: Anthology (Mixed Genres)
- Belling, Catherine
- Date of entry: Jan-21-2003
This is a rich and diverse anthology of poetry and of prose extracts, both fictional and non-fictional, about becoming a parent. It is organized into three chronological sections: "First Stirrings," about becoming and being pregnant (or of having a pregnant partner: the father’s perspective is refreshingly well-represented throughout), "The Welcoming," about labor and birth, and bringing home the newborn, and "Now That I am Forever With Child," about being the parent of an infant.
Each section contains a cross-section of views, from, for instance, Elizabeth Spires’s languid letter to the fetus inside her to Rosemary Bray’s candid account of her ambivalence about being pregnant; from Julianna Baggott’s thoughts on the Madonna and child, and A. S. (Antonia Susan) Byatt ’s rather frightening description of giving birth in a British hospital in the 1960s, to Hunt Hawkins’s sad poem about holding his dying newborn daughter; and from Jesse Green’s memoir as a gay parent adopting a son to Kate Daniels’s prayer for her children.
The anthology ends with the powerful poem by Audre Lorde that gives its title to the book’s last section. Lorde encapsulates the astonishing change of focus and identity at the heart of becoming a parent.
Univ. of Iowa Press
Kristin Kovacic & Lynne Barrett