Read classic and contemporary poems for and about mothers for Mother’s Day, as well as essays, books, and more on mothers and motherhood.

Poetic Greetings, Essays & More for Mothers

Going for Motherlode: On Adrienne Rich’s Of Woman Born
In this essay, Miranda Field takes a look at Adrienne Rich’s important feminist text Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution, in which Rich discusses what Field calls the “chasm separating women’s actual (or at least potential) link to maternity, and the ‘theories, ideals, archetypes, descriptions’ patriarchal culture substitutes for this real relationship."

Mother Knows Best
The poets in this collection—Toi Derricotte, Juan Felipe Herrera, Jim Moore, Valzhyna Mort, Sharon Olds, and Sandra Simonds—present poems about their mothers and discuss their mothers’ responses to the poems written about them.

On Human Cylinders: The Pregnant Poet
In this essay, Danielle Pafunda discusses the ways writers have traditionally approached poetry of pregnancy and the female body, and examines how poets like Maxine Chernoff, Toi Derricotte, Susan Howe, Alice Notley, Anne Sexton, and more approach the subject.

Relative Strangers: Remembering My Grandmother Ruth Stone
Poet and essayist Hillery Stone, the granddaughter of poet Ruth Stone, discusses her memories of, and relationship with, her grandmother and the last moments of the celebrated poet’s life.

Videos

Poetry Breaks: Li-Young Lee Reads "I Ask My Mother to Sing"

Li-Young Lee Reads "I Ask My Mother to Sing"
 

In this Poetry Breaks video, Li-Young Lee reads his poem "I Ask My Mother to Sing."

 

Dear Poet 2021: Angelo Geter Reads “Wonder Woman”

Dear Poet 2021: Angelo Geter Reads “Wonder Woman”

Angelo Geter, a Poets Laureate Fellow and the Poet Laureate of Rock Hill, South Carolina, reads “Wonder Woman” as part of Dear Poet, the Academy of American Poets’s educational project for National Poetry Month 2021.

Further Reading for Mother's Day & Beyond

MotherSongs

MotherSongs: Poems for, by, and about Mothers, edited by Sandra M. Gilbert, Susan Gubar, and Diana O'Hehir
This anthology includes poems about pregnancies, birthing and nursing, living with children, mothers grieving their children, aging mothers, grandmothers, and mothers who’ve passed, among other themes.

Motherhood: Poems about Mothers

Motherhood: Poems about Mothers
Part of the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets series, Motherhood: Poems about Mothers includes poems that capture the particulars of motherhood from various perspectives and angles.
 

Mother Love

Mother Love by Rita Dove
In this collection, Dove takes the classic mother-daughter tale of Demeter and Persephone out of the realm of Greek myth and places them in settings as various as Arizona, Mexico, and a bistro in Paris.

Tender Hooks

Tender Hooks by Beth Ann Fennelly
In Tender Hooks, Fennelly includes poems that track the joys, trials, and complexities of new motherhood.

Magdalene

Magdalene by Marie Howe
In this collection, Howe's fourth book of poems, the central events are the revelation of love after adopting a daughter later in life and a teacher’s deep presence (though thronged with other disciples).

Milk

Milk by Dorothea Lasky
The poems in Dorothea Lasky’s fifth poetry collection, Milk, tackle a range of dark subject matter, but these are not typical poetic narratives of loss.

The End of Pink

The End of Pink by Kathryn Neurnberger
Nuernberger’s second book is a visit to the end of innocence and an entry into the war-zone years of getting pregnant, giving birth, and early motherhood.

Our Andromeda

Our Andromeda by Brenda Shaughnessy
Brenda Shaughnessy’s third collection taps into both the personal and universal as it explores themes of astronomy, illness, the family, motherhood, and home.

Blackacre

Blackacre by Monica Youn
The book is a vivid rendering of waiting in a white room for a door to open up into the battlefield of motherhood.