Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral

"Instructions for My Mother's Funeral uncovers the mysteries of girlhood in haunting tableaus and synesthesiac encounters with the past and then gradually moves us into the domestic present. The death of a father and remarriage of a mother, a complicated relationship with a brother, seen through a child's eyes; a house stoppered like a bottle where she sits alone in the quiet aftermath. Strange in that way all art is strange, light come to light, but always a palpable darkness riding beneath; a mature lyrical voice translating memory's turbulent, wordless world."
Dorianne Laux
Winner of the 2011 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry

This collection is divided into three sections. The first opens with the speaker’s reflections on her childhood loss of her father and subsequent move to a new house and a new life, a life in which she is always alert to the absences and danger but also a life in which she begins to see language as a kind of salvation. This section also develops the speaker’s first knowledge of sex, primarily in the poems, “The Goose Girl” and “A Woman Was Raped Here.” The second section follows the speaker into adolescence and young adulthood, and these poems further explore the sexual violence in the world in which the speaker lives, and how this violence affects her own feelings toward sex and romantic love. In the third section, the book finds love, work, and family, and the poems in this section about motherhood echo back to the first section as the speaker’s own parenting is influenced by how difficult it is to love when you know people die.

104 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

November, 2012

isbn : 9780822962151

about the author

Laura Read

Laura Read teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses at Spokane Falls Community College. She has published poems in a variety of journals, most recently in Rattle, Mississippi Review, Third Wednesday, and Bellingham Review. Her chapbook, The Chewbacca on Hollywood Boulevard Reminds Me of You, was the 2010 winner of the Floating Bridge Chapbook Award.

learn more
Laura Read