About the Author

A.B. Dillon

A. B. Dillon was born in 1968 in Owen Sound, Ontario. She now lives in Calgary, Alberta, where she devotes her time to writing and counselling. Her poetry has been featured in FreeFall, Café Beano Anthology and the Calgary Herald. She has also been published in Swerve, Avenue Magazine and Where Calgary. This is her first collection of poetry.

Books by this Author

Inverting the usual idea of a celebration of childbirth and motherhood, Dillon’s poems examine another dimension of motherhood that is rarely explored. Using poetry’s powerful, emotional triggers, Dillon creates a mother’s point of view that is central and immediate through her acute powers of observation and her intense imagery. From the very first poem we bear witness as a mother offers fierce counsel to her daughter to atone for a festering secret. Personal and congenital mythologies reticulate like Celtic knot work, revealing in fragments what she has tried in vain to suppress — a malaise of the heart and a hereditary disease, eased only in confessing its pathology to her daughter.


In their tone and vivid imagery, as well as emotional precision, these poems are reminiscent of the mother poems of Sharon Olds and Sylvia Plath, with the grieving defiance of Gwendolyn Brooks. Uniquely, A. B. Dillon locates this specific mother’s tribulations in an ancestral context: the pains, joys, and failures are not only of her time but of every time before.

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P align=left>My father could pull a plough
you used to say P align=left> Like a giant he was, with a chest this broad—
your two arms spread wide, to show me
and I'd imagine this colossus of a man
working the field in the rain
cooing to his Gypsy Cob mare while the old ridging plough cut furrows
through the heavy soil P align=left>morphing from a sodden field in Blackwatertown, Co Armagh
collective memories encoded in bone and sinew,
passed down from him to you and to me,
to quark through my hands like premonitions,
and into the clay loam of this dry garden (all of us labouring,
while Rome falls seven times)

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