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Poets & Storytellers 2021

Di Brandt, Winnipeg

Di Brandt's poetry titles include questions i asked my mother; Agnes in the sky; Now You Care; Walking to Mojácar, with French and Spanish translations by Charles Leblanc and Ari Belathar; and most recently, Glitter & fall: Laozi's Dao De Jing, Transinhalations.  Her numerous awards include the Gerald Lampert Award for "best first book of poetry in Canada," the Canadian Authors’ Association National Poetry Prize, the McNally Robinson Award for Manitoba Book of the Year, two nominations for the Governor General's Award for Poetry, as well as the Dillons Commonwealth Poetry Prize and the Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize.

Poem: my mother found herself

my mother found herself one late summer
afternoon lying in grass under the wild
yellow plum tree jewelled with sunlight
he was forgotten there in spring picking
rhubarb for pie & the children home from
school hungry & her new dress half hemmed
for Sunday the wind & rain made her skin
ruddy like a peach her hair was covered
with wet fallen crab apple blossoms she
didn’t know what to do with her so she put
her up in the pantry among glass jars of
jellied fruit she might have stayed there
all winter except we were playing robbers
& the pantry was jail & every caught thief
of us heard her soft moan she made her
escape while we argued over who broke the
pickled watermelon jar scattering cubes
of pale pink flesh in vinegar over the
basement floor my mother didn’t mind she
handed us mop & broom smiling & went back
upstairs i think she was listening to
herself in the wind singing

“my mother found herself ” is from Di Brandt’s new collection T
he Sweetest Dance on Earth: New and Selected Poems
and was
originally published in her debut collection questions i asked
my mother
in 1987, by Turnstone Press.