52 Books in 52 Weeks: Linda Parson Marion's Motherland

Cover art by Rachel Travis for  Linda Parson Marion's Motherland (Iris Press, 2008, 96 pp).  I first published this post on 10/12/14 at 11:00 PM.  I last updated it on 7:05 PM on 10/18/14.

Robin McCormack's book challenge continues. (Reports are due every Sunday.)

This week I read Linda Parson Marion's Motherland, her narrative poems about leaving at the age of 11 from the home of her bi-polar mother (not to be diagnosed until age 73) to join her father and her young stepmother (who had married her father at age 20) and of subsequent visits back and forth. 

The images (and the story) are riveting.

UPDATE:  I reconnect with Linda on Facebook on 10/18, having last seen her (and met her) at a reading at  Radford University in June 2011.  I had just found this piece from last month (with additional artwork by Travis, who, it turns out is her daughter).  I wrote to let Marion know that I'd be doing a real review once I caught up, but that I wanted to let her know about this post and that her book was "a real lesson in how to write about hard things." 

This was her response, which she gave me permission to reprint here, since I think it gives insight in the writing process:

I like that, Beth, a lesson in how to write about hard things. The challenge is always to craft the raw emotion and memory into a semblance of art, to distance yourself enough from the pain or horror, yet not lose the truth and depth of the experience so that it becomes as much universal as personal.