(m)othersongs

 “(m)othersongs is a moving, visceral exploration of the othering nature of un-motherhood. Body-shame, medical misogyny and grief are exorcised in shape-shifting forms with veins of pain running through them, in which everything from cloud formations to sea gooseberries on a shoreline speak of the changing seasons of the human body. This is a world where ‘wooden babies’ and rag dolls are born in place of children, and the womb – a ‘special bedroom’ haunted by endometriosis, fibroids and myths of creation – is surrendered with the mantra – ‘it’s only a pocket, and one you’re not using’. Both heartbreaking and strangely transporting, these are powerful and necessary poems.”
Polly Atkin

 “(m)othersongs is one of those rare examples of a collection of poetry that is both moving in content and accomplished in form. Each poem is expertly crafted, with a skilled use of structured form alongside beautifully crafted free verse. This textured and vibrant collection does not hold back, it faces the pain of endometriosis and infertility and holds that pain up to the light as valid experience of womanhood. The poetry world is enriched by this collection, and I shall return to it.”
Wendy Pratt

(m)othersongs is very meteorological and very moonlit.

ISBN: 978-1-7398838-6-7
32 pages
RRP £6.50

 A sample poem can be enjoyed below.

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This has been the sunniest May since records began*

said the weatherman and every day my skin
absorbed the air’s hot butter; every day
through May, a barometric melt and swelter
until I was slick with sunshine. My eyes
ripened from green to gold, and freckles
swarmed my arms like fire ants. Helium
trailed in my wake, a shimmer of heat-haze
to burn out the dazzled retinas, as mercury
rose from toes to thighs to breasts. I blazed
with the fizz and pop of hydrogen,
a meteorological Midas making a yellow 
mess of everything I touched, spilling
from room to room like steam, hissing
and flexing on limbs of plasma. I was fat
with photons, my mouth a glary corona
flaring electricity wrought from a heaving
belly. Month long, I radiated, basking
in the glow of my own brilliance, alive
with convection and luminous to the core.
But May broke like an egg, the sun’s
ruined yolk puddling round my feet,
as I succumbed to clammy blue in the rains
and the hail and the thunder of June.

First published in Finished Creatures 


REVIEWS

"Sarah Doyle's latest V. Press pamphlet, (m)othersongs, is a gorgeous, courageous publication. At the centre is a woman's experience of reaching middle age, having been unable to bear a child. Doyle's poems are a "complex harvest". Her willingness to be vulnerable, and her arresting language, creativity, and attention to craft make this collection shine."

Robin Blackburn McBride, here.

"Frequently in this moving collection, the reader has a sharp intake of breath and is propelled into knowing something visceral about the staggering pain and regret of involuntary childlessness. There are no easy answers here. Instead, Doyle has offered us a compelling and, at times, heartbreaking voice that sings of the complexity of un-motherhood." 

Diana Cant, London Grip, full review here.

"‘Corn Dolly’ opens the pamphlet, with some stunning images, ‘I am stiff-skirted, wide-/ legged, fecund and// pregnant with home-/spun magic’. [...]
One poem I found particularly moving was ‘Windsong, for my mother’: ‘Forgive me those times I slipped my moorings: the safe harbour of your arms, your kitchen/ table counsel’, summed up at the end of the poem as ‘belief, courage, hope.’ The poems in this pamphlet pay tribute to this counsel."

Mary Mulholland, The Alchemy Spoon, Issue 11

'Sarah Doyle's striking pamphlet explores deeply personal experiences of non-motherhood, endometriosis, infertility and "the faces of children / you will not have". These are poignant and painful poems, "twisted into promise", which will resonate with all those who are coming to terms with childlessness. Despite "the othering nature of un-motherhood", as Polly Atkins so eloquently puts it, (M)othersongs sings of "belief, courage, hope".'

Poetry Book Society, Winter Bulletin 2023

(M)othersongs can be purchased through the Poetry Book Society here.

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