In this beautiful, necessary anthology, All We Can Hold, poets turn their lyric gifts to motherhood, a subject so loaded that it, along with apple pie, forms our cultural shorthand for everything good. But motherhood is anything but saccharine and simple. In this book, mothers, fathers, and grown children bring their lyric gifts to bear on this most close-to-the-bone relationship, celebrating parenting, mourning the loss of children, even examining a father’s envy of his wife’s hold on their infant. This book conveys those moments when a child is “the seashell I put to my body and feel the universe vibrating,” but also parents’ fears, children who turn troubled, the bad angels of postpartum depression—the gamut of all of “ the attention, the fear, the awe, the unbearable responsibility.” It is my highest testament to the power of this anthology that I wish I had had these poems to sustain me during my own early days of motherhood.
—Susanne Paola Antonetta, author of Make Me a Mother and A Mind Apart
Twenty-five years ago when I began writing, poems about motherhood were still called “women’s poetry” and their practitioners “women poets.” How far we’ve come. Here is a fresh, powerful and varied new collection on motherhood—-one of the great subjects—-to remind us poetry about women’s lives is poetry. Period.
—Kathleen Flenniken, author of Plume and Famous
The poems in this collection distill the moments, both large and small, that make up not only the “dailyness of mothering,” but the dailyness of life itself. Full of love and beauty, pain and humanity, these poems have the power to knit us back together when we are broken. This is a stunning collection, one I will return to again and again.
—Kate Hopper, author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers
I can think of no anthology more likely than All We Can Hold: A Collection of Poetry on Motherhood to restore your faith not only in contemporary American poetry but in humanity itself.
—Jonathan Johnson, author of In the Land We Imagined Ourselves
All We Can Hold is an anthology of caught voices, of urgent moments, of the sweat and muck that comes from the absolutes of parenthood. It is honest and visceral, tender and rageful. Told from hospital gurneys, kitchen gardens, and the Atlantic Ocean, All We Can Hold is about the breadth and depth of human experience, meant to be read again and again.
—Molly Sutton Kiefer, author of the full-length lyric essay Nestuary
All We Can Hold is a treasure. Many of my favorite poets—e.g., Laura Kasischke, Dorianne Laux, and Malena Mörling— offer poems on mothering that feel miraculously full, brimming with effusive spirit. Herein, find poems that teeter between everyday and metaphysical trials and triumphs, poems that remind us how that umbilical tether stays mercifully, and mercilessly, both tough and tender.
—Nance Van Winckel, author of Pacific Walkers and Book of No Ledge