Absent Mothers

Absent Mothers Cover

Price: $24.95

Page Count: 119

Publication Date: September 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77258-123-2

Missing, dead, disappeared, or otherwise absent mothers haunt us and the stories we tell ourselves. Our literature, from fairytales like Cinderella and The Little Mermaid to popular narratives like Cheryl Strayed’s recent book Wild, is peopled with motherless children. The absent mother, whether in literature or life, may force us to forge an independent identity. But she can also leave a mother-shaped hole and a howling loneliness that dogs us through our adult lives. This anthology explores the theme of absent mothers from scholars and creative writers, who tell personal stories and provide the theoretical framework to recognize and begin to understand the impact of motherlessness that ripples through our cultures and our art.

“Absent Mothers sheds much needed light on the neglected topic of losing one’s mother and speaks truth to the painful and often-sentimentalized experiences of growing up or living with an absent mother. The collection’s personal and creative reflections explored through poetry, short prose, and scholarly writings provide a wealth of cultural and geographical diversity and offers a refreshing understanding of this uncomfortable and complex topic.”
—Fiona Joy Green, author of Practicing Feminist Mothering and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

“Absent Mothers offers a multidisciplinary look at maternal absence—defined as both the experiences of motherless children and of mothers who have lost their children, willingly or not—from literary, cultural, political and deeply personal perspectives. The emphasis on Indigenous voices confronting this primal wound is especially timely as Twenty-First-century Canadians attempt to redress our troubled history with First Nations as a result of the lingering legacy of colonization and its destructive impact on families.”
—Laurie Kruk, Professor, Nipissing University (English Studies), author of My Mother Did Not Tell Stories (2012) and co-editor of Borderlands and Crossroads: Writing the Motherland (2016)

Frances Greenslade

Dying to Create a Hero:
Changing Meanings of Death in Childbirth?
Berit Åström

“Is Mother All Right?”: An Exploration of the Maternal
Figure—Absent yet Present—in Dementia Care
Esther Ramsay-Jones

May Breath: Poetics against Canada’s Ongoing Settler Colonial
Violence toward Indigenous Women and Mothers
Sarah de Leeuw

My Nehiyaw Mother
Randy Lundy
Remembering the Mothers of the Stolen Children:
A Discussion of the Representation of Mothers
in Jane Harrison’s Play Stolen
Emma Dalton

Mother India
Subimal Misra, Translated by V. Ramaswamy

Speaking from Beyond the Grave:
Abjection and the Maternal Corpses of William Faulkner’s As I
Lay Dying and Suzan-Lori Parks’s Getting Mother’s Body
Bianca Batti

Blue Robe
Bernadette Wagner

Mother-Witch and Other Poems
Courtney Bates-Hardy

Notes from Tinkle
Madhulika Liddle

Mushrooms and Memory
Monica Meneghetti

The Orchard
Monica Meneghetti

About the Contributors

Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Frances Greenslade has since lived in Winnipeg, Regina, Vancouver, Chilliwack and now Penticton. She has a BA in English from the University of Winnipeg and an MFA in Creative Writing from University of British Columbia. By the Secret Ladder and A Pilgrim in Ireland (Penguin) are her first two books, both memoir. Her novel, Shelter, was published in Canada by Random House in 2011, in the US by Free Press and the UK by Virago in 2012. It has been translated into Dutch, German and Italian. She has taught English and Creative writing at Okanagan College since 2005.