Tuesdays with BOA Editions: Mother Country by Elana Bell

Join Writers & Books this fall for Tuesdays with BOA Editions, the iconic Rochester-based publisher of poetry and literary works by such authors as Lucille Clifton, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Bruce Weigl. Tune in on Tuesdays, September-October 2020, for our virtual readings and conversations with some of today’s most exciting authors.

Mother Country examines the intricacies of mother–daughter relationships: what we inherit, what we let go, what we hold, and what we pass on to our own children, both the visible and invisible. As the speaker gradually loses the mother she has always known to early onset Parkinson’s disease, she asks herself, “How do you deal with the grief of losing someone who is still living?” The caregiving of a child to her parent is further compounded by anxiety and depression, as well as the pain of a miscarriage and the struggle to conceive once more. The narrator’s journey comes full circle when she gives birth to a son and discovers the gap between the myths of motherhood and a far more nuanced reality.

Elana Bell is a poet, sound practitioner, and sacred creative. Her debut poetry collection, Eyes, Stones (Louisiana State University Press, 2012), was selected by Fanny Howe as winner of the 2011 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her writing has appeared in Harvard ReviewMassachusetts Review, AGNI, Barrow Street, and elsewhere. She was a finalist for the inaugural Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism from Split This Rock. She has taught her acclaimed Writing Toward Peace curriculum internationally with Seeds of Peace, the Tent of Nations, and Encounter. Elana currently teaches poetry to actors at The Juilliard School and sings with the Resistance Revival Chorus. She lives with her husband and son in Brooklyn.