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Bad Mommy Stay Mommy by Elisabeth Horan


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Elisabeth Horan was in the grip of postpartum depression after the birth of her second son, 'red and writhing a salamander underfoot'. In this collection, Elisabeth finds the courage to survive. Uplifting, guttural: Horan leaves her reader roaring for more.

What strikes me most at the core of Elisabeth Horan's Bad Mommy / Stay Mommy is the generosity of its voice. These poems share fears, criticisms, confessions, shortcomings, wounds, and hopes in full, honest throat because the poet trusts us to hear her. No matter how close these poems get to giving up, they face fault and self-loathing like a sandblast, coming away less diminished than polished by it. There's pain, yes, and even unraveling. But there is also redemption in this telling, and even hope. Horan's poems teem with the complexities of life. They sing even when the song hurts. Most of all, they are necessary because, as she writes, "Saying I'm sorry is not enough."

Jack B. Bedell, author of No Brother, This Storm, Poet Laureate, State of Louisiana, 2017-2019

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