Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Literary Mama Blog Book Tour

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I'm pleased to be here at the final stop on Literary Mama's Blog Book Tour. I'm in good company today with Stacey Greenberg, editor and publisher of popular momzine Fertile Ground also blogging on the book. Check out her blog to read what she has to say about this great collection of mamacentric literature. You might also get a chuckle or flash a knowing grin after reading her entry from earlier this week.

Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined (Seal Press, 2005) is a book with a mission. Editors Andrea J. Buchanan and Amy Hudock set out to prove that women can be both procreative and creative- that it is possible to combine a maternal and a literary life.

The proof is in the pudding, er, pages. They serve up a rich and deeply satisfying helping of stories, essays and poems that will leave many maternally inclined readers hungry for Volume II.

As a regular visitor to the Literary Mama Web site I was pleased to find some of my favorites like Andi's "The Plant" and Nicole Cooley's "Thirteen Ways of Looking at Being a Mother and a Poet" in a conveniently portable book. I also enjoyed some new essays like Lizbeth Finn Arnold's take on a visit to Walden Pond, "Out of the Woods". I even liked the poetry- something I never bother to read online.

But this book goes beyond enjoyable and pleasing. Literary Mama's mission is to showcase work that is "too long, too complex, too ambiguous, too deep, too raw…for other publications". In that vein the poem Miscarriage of an English Teacher by Megeen R. Mulholland or Heidi Raykeil's essay about the death of her infant son, Johnny. (Raykeil's lighter fare can be found in her "Naught Mommy" piece as well as her column at LM and in her new book by the same name.)

Sure, you can read all of this and more for free at the website, but buy the book. You can read it in the car, in bed, and dare we suggest you head to the bathroom for some defecontainment (time spent in the bathroom reading while feigning some sort of intestinal ailment so that your family will leave alone for a change).

Literary Mama makes a great Mother's Day gift, especially when accompanied by a few child-free hours to lounge around and read it in the location of your choice. In fact, to avoid any misunderstanding on your special day (the one where you get to host a brunch in your honor) I recommend you head to the bookstore today, purchase this book and have it gift-wrapped. Then bring it home and hand it to your partner with instructions to return the package to you on the appointed Sunday in May. Sure, this eliminates the element of surprise, but, trust me, that can be a good thing.

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