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This Country of Mothers (Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry) Paperback – April 10, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

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“Against a backdrop of family stories, Julianna Baggott draws themes as sharp as razors. She is an accomplished poet of the eye and ear, of the definitive feminine experience, and her poems of private life are expansive enough to suggest a vision of a political and historical era. If Baggott's large subject is memory and, especially, its defaults, the clarity that so many of her characters seek to deny is her great virtue. Poems like “The Annunciation: Our Mothers at Church” and “The Dead Must Disappear or Join a Story” might be admired exclusively for their technical skills, but they are also marvelously accessible. This Country of Mothers announces a poet of substantial powers.”—Rodney Jones, author of Elegy for the Southern Drawl


“In Julianna Baggott's This Country of Mothers, a distant and uncaring god is always near.  Baggott's world is haunted by blood, miscarriage, suicide, and family love—and set against the world of the Bible. In one striking poem the speaker embarrasses and tires Jesus himself by telling him how ‘a woman resigns herself to joy’ because she knows her body will be ‘ripped open’ in childbirth. And when Jesus, exhausted by her rant (‘I've gone too far’), lies down on the sofa, she covers him with a white sheet and takes care of him.  In these large, passionate, compelling poems, the speaker's family and the holy family merge in love and suffering—wholly family, wholly loved, wholly suffered for.”—Andrew Hudgins, author of Babylon in a Jar: New Poems



“Julianna Baggott has a fierce imagination which probes the ordinary details of a woman's life and lights up both the sacred and profane.  In a poem called ‘Blurbs,’ she half facetiously hopes for the words ‘sexy,’ ‘elegance,’ and ‘bite’ to be applied to her work.  Happily, in this book, she earns all three.”—Linda Pastan, author of Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968–1998

From the Publisher

Rodney Jones, final judge for the 2000 Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry, writes of his selection of THIS COUNTRY OF MOTHERS: "Against a backdrop of family stories, Julianna Baggott draws themes as sharp as razors. She is an accomplished poet of the eye and ear, of the definitive feminine experience, and her poems of private life are expansive enough to suggest a vision of a political and historical era. If Baggott's large subject is memory and, especially, its defaults, the clarity that so many of her characters seek to deny is her great virtue. Poems like 'The Annunciation: Our Mothers at Church' and 'The Dead Must Disappear or Join a Story' might be admired exclusively for their technical skills, but they are also marvelously accessible. THIS COUNTRY OF MOTHERS announces a poet of substantial powers."
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