Book of Mutter

I will read every book that Kate Zambreno publishes, but this will not be one of my favorites (that honor goes to Heroines and Green Girl). I’m just not a sucker for the drama of the mother-daughter relationship, with the daughter left scurrying about trying to make sense of it all in the aftermath of death.

But once again she’s introduced me to a whole cast of characters, weaving in Louise Bourgeois into the story, reminding me of Henry Darger, and creating a compelling tale through sparse, tight, poetry.

This roll call cuts straight to the chase. I’m never going to turn my back on anyone who name checks Valerie Solanas, Virginia Woolf, Chantal Ackerman, Shulamith Firestone, Sylvia Plath, and Zelda Fitzgerald:

All the women Louise Bourgeois collected like these fragile glasses, women I also collect, fictional and fictionalized, that I abandon myself to in acts of intense research and investigation—Anne Sexton, Antigone, Marilyn Monroe, Medea, Ophelia, Cassandra, Sylvia, Virginia, Zelda.

Addendum: Barbara Loden, Nella Larsen, Diane Arbus, Shulamith Firestone, Valerie Solanas, Susan Sontag, Kathy Acker, Chantal Ackerman, Louise Brooks.

Any woman remote and unknowable. Any woman furious and desperate. I collect them for my mantle.

In her acknowledgements, she mentions that while she was finishing up the book (it lingered over 10 years), she found out she was pregnant. I hope that this addition to her life does not take her or her intensity away.