Reflections on Mothers and Motherhood
by Magdelena Ball and
Photography by May Lattanzio
Available as an e-book. .
Learn more on the author's Web site.
Award of Excelence from Military Writers Society of America
Review by LB Sedlacek
This poetry book is split into two
sections: "The Genetic Code" (Ball)
and "Dandelions in Autumn" (Howard-
Johnson) with each section title
page perfectly accompanied by one
of Lattanzio's pictures.
In "Coil of Life," Ball punctuates
her "The Genetic Code" section with
a jolting look at creation. "Take a
single cell/tinier than the tip of a
pencil/in its nucleus the DNA blueprint/
six billion pairs of nucleotides." The
poem continues further on with "Binary
fission/mitosis and cytokinesis/the
cervix thins and dilates/the dreaming
and waking cerebral cortex/already
perfect signals uterine contractions/
the Big Bang." Each poem weaves vivid
layers (somewhat of a verbal voltage)
of life and existence. From "The
Fading": "eyelids closed tightly
against life/you create your own
shadow/the steel bars/of your deviant
past/shatter the illusion of freedom."
Ball writes with a punch -- you won't
fast forget her words.
The "Dandelions in Autumn" section
(Howard-Johnson) is more focused
on the later years of motherhood
and/or mothers themselves. In
"Mother and Daughter, The Thing I
Learned from Depends and Other Events,"
Howard-Johnson's poem deals with a
daughter taking care of an elderly
mother "... she cannot find/her words,
or the beans/on her plate. Now merely
a leafhusk,/I cannot find the strength/
to place her head upon a pillow.//I
pre-order stew with chunks/chopped to
the size of peas." Each poem seems to
pull from days gone by capturing a
daughter's journey from child to
caretaker of one's mother. The
visuals - "offers us her favorite
dish, whipped/cream, crusted Heath
bars, melted/Marshmallows (without
the rum Mother/would have added)"
from "Across the Hall from Mother" -
are stunning and leverage accordingly
within each line.
Lattanzio's pictures add a blast of
scenic flavor to the book. They
are chosen and placed at just the
"She Wore Emerald Then" is a
tribute to mothers everywhere.
L.B. Sedlacek's poems have most recently
appeared in "Ginosko," "Pure Francis," and
"Testing the Waters" poetry anthology.
L.B.'s latest chapbook is "I Am My
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