Mother Country examines the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships: what we inherit from our mothers, what we let go, what we hold, and what we pass on to our own children, both the visible and invisible.
As the speaker gradually loses the mother she has always known and upon whom she has always depended to early onset Parkinson's disease and mental illness, she asks herself: "How do you deal with the grief of losing someone who is still living?" The caregiving of a child to her parent is further compounded by anxiety and depression, as well as the pain of a miscarriage and the struggle to conceive once more. Her journey comes full circle when the speaker gives birth to a son and discovers the gap between the myths of motherhood and a far more nuanced reality.
About the Author
Elana Bell is a poet, sound practitioner, and sacred creative. Her debut poetry collection, Eyes, Stones (Louisiana State University Press 2012), was selected by Fanny Howe as winner of the 2011 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Massachusetts Review, AGNI, Barrow Street, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Edward Albee Foundation, the Brooklyn Arts Council, the AROHO Foundation, and the Drisha Institute. She was a finalist for the inaugural Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism from Split This Rock, an award that recognizes and honors a poet who is doing innovative and transformative work at the intersection of poetry and social change. Elana leads creative writing workshops for women, seniors, educators and youths in Israel and Palestine, and throughout the five boroughs of New York City. She has taught her acclaimed Writing Toward Peace curriculum internationally with Seeds of Peace, the Tent of Nations, and Encounter, offering transformative creative writing workshops to support dialogue and peacebuilding for educators and community members from regions in conflict. Elana currently teaches poetry to actors at The Juilliard School, and sings with the Resistance Revival Chorus, a group of women activists and musicians committed to bringing joy and song to the resistance movement. She lives with her husband and son in Brooklyn.