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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Gift for Mother and Other Women In Your Life

She Wore Emerald Then
Subtitle: Reflections on Motherhood
By Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Photography by May Lattanzio
Number one in the Celebration Series of chapbooks
Author's Web site:
Amazon Link:
ISBN: 978-1438263793
Also available for Kindle

Reviewed originally for Amazon by Zoe Potok, Czech Republic


She Wore Emerald Then

I read this collection of thirty poems slowly, allowing myself only a few at a time usually before I went to bed. The poems deserve such an approach, they need to settle in the mind and soul, to be savoured like a good wine.

The description (on the site only) says "Moods of Motherhood" but it is more than that. At its heart it is about a grown-up child reflecting on the elderly and dying mother and on earlier days when the mother was the strong adult and other. Maybe it is because I am at that stage of life (with a grown-up son and a frail mother) that the poems meant so much to me. The description also suggests that it would make the ideal Mother's Day gift, I'm not so sure about that, I certainly wouldn't give it to my mother, too close to home.

The two poets come at the subject from different points: Magdalena Ball talks about the cosmos before focusing in on the personal with her late poems, Carolyn Howard-Johnson starts with and continues with the personal. And it is the personal that catches the reader in the throat:

We all forget names, I say as numb

moves from hand to heart

because it is my name she has forgotten.

~More on the reviewer: Zoe Brooks (Potok) is a poet and writer. She is the author of Fool’s Paradise a long poem for voices
She blogs at

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