Randell, Elaine

Elaine Randell - Faulty Mothering


Elaine Randell - Faulty Mothering

Paperback, 80pp, 8.5x5.5ins

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Faulty Mothering is based on my work with families but focusing on mothers in particular who are experiencing problems in attachment to their children. A backdrop to such difficulties maybe poverty, mental health problems, substance misuse, adoption, fostering, domestic violence or being poorly parented themselves. I am interested in the capacity of people to change and in the courage of children and young people who adapt and survive adversity. The poems explore those issues. The Song Cycles, which make up the rest of the book, come from a call and response, using sentences sometimes written by others in novels which have resonated for me. —Elaine Randell


"The first of the strong and sensitive sequences that make up this book draws on Elaine Randell's lengthy experience as a psychotherapist and social worker. Documentary poetry, yes, but a fine ear has transmuted the groundwork into lyrics that move us, as the spirit evidently moved her. Just so, Baudelaire speaks of the gift of mud which the poet turns into gold. The three 'song' sequences, again, can be sourced directly to Randell's experience, this time to her life as a reader, but they are absolutely not hyper-literary meta-poems. As with the first sequence, this poet's ear, on a par with, for example, Denise Levertov's (subtlety of phrasing, play of rhythm, unassuming brilliance of line-breaks), bears profound witness to what matters to her and, in so doing, makes it matter to us. The book ends with an early sequence in which 'River, knowing something else / runs clear quickly.' Like Paul Celan, Elaine Randell drinks "wine from two glasses". Knowing something else, her work is instinct with love." —Anthony Rudolf


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