After reading this collection, you will never look at mothers - at the playground, at the elementary school, or across the kitchen table - in quite the same way again. Beginning with a poem of pregnancy, written by her twenty-five year old self, Joanne Arnott leads us through a span of twenty years of inward- and outward-facing struggles, centred firmly in the ongoing work of becoming a mother.
Living on the thresholds between races - the poet is a prairie-born Métis - and between thegenerations, Arnott articulates the challenges of mothering in heart, body, and mind. Her work involves sometimes abstract, sometimes visceral long and short poems, song and chant. Through visiting and revisiting pregnancy, childbirth, lullabies, and multi-generational rage, the poetry moves from the desperation of survival through to a tender place of clarity. The sexual, the spiritual, and the sociological weave together here to shock, cajole, and ultimately to transform our picture of the inner life of the mother.
Joanne Arnott, a Metis/mixed blood writer, was born in Winnipeg, and has lived thirty years in Musqueam traditional territories on the west coast. Mother to six children ranging in age from three to twenty years, Joanne has been a literary performer and publishing poet since the mid-1980s. She worked for many years as an Unlearning Racism facilitator, and continues to incorporate social justice perspectives and peer counselling approaches in her work. She lives with her husband and children in Richmond, BC.
Her first book, Wiles of Girlhood (Press Gang, 1991), won the Gerald Lampert Award. She has since published five additional books. These include poetry, a children's illustrated story and a nonfiction collection. She is the author of Steepy Mountain: Love Poetry (Kegedonce Press, 2004), and most recently Mother Time: Poems New and Selected, about the many roles involved in being and becoming a mother.