On Nicole Brossard at many gendered mothers

Poetry News
By Harriet Staff
If you haven’t been keeping up with Canada’s many gendered mothers, a project about literary influence directly inspired by the U.S. website Literary Mothers, now’s the time–Angela Carter, Mina Loy, anyone? “O god save all the many gendered-mothers of my heart, & all the other mothers, who do not need god or savior, our hearts persist in excess of the justice they’re refused,” wrote Dana Ward in his poem “A Kentucky of Mothers.”
Earlier this month, Susan Rudy on Nicole Brossard:

*In the 1970s Brossard identified patriarchal motherhood as the place where the concept of woman was most fraught. The problem lay in the fact that, in Brossard’s words, “patriarchal mothers” (18) are “able only to initiate their daughters to a man”:
There is no confidence between us. Sold-out at a loss. Split in two. (18)
In contrast to the misogyny perpetuated by patriarchal motherhood, Brossard’s experience of lesbian motherhood offered an alternative based on loving connections.
On the same day, she “caresses” the body of her lesbian lover and washes the body of her daughter: “[c]yprine juices urine. Orgasm and labour as two sides of the same entity” (18):
I write so I won’t engulf and hurt your bodies and so as to find in them my void my centre. (13)
Instead of reproducing the mother-role of patriarchy, Brossard creates “her own locus of desire,” finds “her own place at a distance” (18):
She who is writing in the present between barbed wires remembers her past. Maybe they’ve been forced to cut the current. She goes through. (These Our Mothers 18)
She goes through.
I think of a photograph on Facebook of an African-American woman at the New York City women’s march. She carried a placard reminding us that 94% of Black women voted against Trump:
Black Women Tried to SAVE Y’ALL!!! #94%
*I almost missed meeting Nicole Brossard that day in Frankfurt in 1988. I had read The Aerial Letter in a feminist theory graduate course. But when I spotted it atop a pile of feminist theory books beside a handsome woman on the ottoman across from me I thought, she must be a colleague.
I looked again and recalled seeing the photo of Brossard with translator Marlene Wildeman at the end of The Aerial Letter. Could it be her?

Read so much more at many gendered mothers.

Tags: Dana Ward, many gendered mothers, Nicole Brossard, Susan Rudy
Posted in Poetry News on Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 by Harriet Staff.

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