Fjords Reviews

HOME | BOOK REVIEWS | Made by Mary by Laura Catherine Brown
Made by Mary by Laura Catherine Brown

 

 

Fjords Review, Made by Mary - Laura Catherine Brown

Fiction
MADE BY MARY
By Laura Catherine Brown

C&R Press
342 Pages
978-1-936196-88-3

 

Reviewed by Barton Smock

 

Laura Catherine Brown’s Made By Mary tells its tale of mothers and daughters, of the appeared and the mirrored,with a rambunctious melancholy of postmarked ache that transcends plot and becomes a hands-on spiritual in a land flattened by dream. In five elemental interruptions (Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Spirit), a natural math that makes one reimagine and not count the losses as recorded from 1999 to 2000, it is, for now, the story of Ann, the daughter, and Mary, the mother. Ann, born without a uterus, wants a child; I’m sorry, this is insufficient. Ann cannot have children, and wants to name them. Still, insufficient. Perhaps it is currently and quite verily the story of Mary, a maker of the decorated now and the proud owner of a past seen through the microscope of exodus. Next maybe it is the story of a birth; of one method orphaned by another method, then abandoned by methods, all. Look: to loneliness, Brown brings a crowd. Children are misremembered as missing, or denied their loss. World-views, unpeopled, wither. The ghosts here haven’t been themselves. Husbands and lovers believe in the world only long enough to worship their belief. Bodies battle for the souls of their caricatures. On paper, I’m not sure this looks seamless, but it is. Brown knows hope as no bread crumb, nor grape, but as the nakedness one swallows when breathing. Revelation is not held aloft, but is allowed its presence in the happenstance destiny of those carrying the differently heavy, be they the children of their art, their magic, their drugged precisions, or of their unowned transport. As a teller, Brown is not opportunistic, is generous, and writes vividly, via the clinical, the clandestine, and the cathartic, the flower that blooms for doll and wilts for puppet. Magic here is real, and not a crime of otherhood. Is the watermark that authenticates the invisible signage of maternal kindness. Is a transaction necessary to navigate the desperations of poverty and travel and the cruelty of those who eat only the earth they walk on. If the physical can finalize itself in error, then ritual can be called upon to perfect the shape of the spellbound. By the glow of what being’s bone do we fossilize the gaslighting of the unborn? Is a photograph a snapshot of faith? How, and who, does one love once it's discovered that reclamation has visiting hours and that inheritance has no creator? A comedy of accuracies, this work is beautifully about time, and how we spoon our need to be disburdened of form’s want to leave a mark.

Barton Smock lives in Columbus, OH, with his wife and four children. He is the author of the chapbook infant*cinema (Dink Press 2016) and of the full-length poetry collection Ghost Arson (Kung Fu Treachery Press 2018). He edits the online poetry journal {isacoustic*}.

Archives

American Neolithic

MY STUNT DOUBLE BY TRAVIS DENTON

THE RAVENMASTER: My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London

Children of the New World By Alexander Weinstein

Canons by Consensus by Joseph Csicsila

And Then by Donald Breckenridge

Dear Everyone by Matt Shears

Magic City Gospel by Ashley M. Jones

Intimacy by Stanley Crawford

Lunch Poems by Deborah Kuan

The Best American Poetry 2016

One with the Tiger by Steven Church

American Neolithic by Terence Hawkins

Crosstalk by Connie Willis

The King of White Collar Boxing by David Lawrence

They Were Coming for Him by Berta Vias-Mahou

Verse for the Averse: a Review of Ben Lerner’s The Hatred of Poetry

That Other Me by Maha Gargash

Simone by Eduardo Lalo

Swimming by Karl Luntt

Ghost/ Landscape by Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher

Enchantment Lake by Margi Preus

Bad Light by Carlos Castán

Diaboliques by Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly

Staying Alive by Laura Sims

Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo

Fireflies by John Leland

Maze of Blood by Marly Youmans

Tender the Maker by Christina Hutchkins

Little Anodynes by Jon Pineda

Conjuror by Holly Sullivan McClure

Someone's Trying To Find You by Marc Augé

The Four Corners of Palermo by Giuseppe Di Piazza

Now You Have Many Legs to Stand On by Ashley-Elizabeth Best

The Darling by Lorraine M. López

How To Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes

Watershed Days: Adventures (A Little Thorny and Familiar) in the Home Range by Thorpe Moeckel

[INSERT] BOY by Danez Smith

Demigods on Speedway by Aurelie Sheehan

Find Me by Laura Van Den Berg

Singing Bones by Kate Schmitt

Knuckleball by Tom Pitts

Wandering Time by Luis Alberto Urrea

Teaching a Man to Unstick His Tail by Ralph Hamilton

Domenica Martinello: The Abject in the Interzones

Control Bird Alt Delete by Alexandria Peary

Twelve Clocks by Julie Sophia Paegle

Love You To a Pulp by C.S. DeWildt

Even Though I Don’t Miss You by Chelsea Martin

Women by Chloe Caldwell

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis

ESSAY 2:12 A.M. by Kat Meads

Revising The Storm by Geffrey Davis

Quality Snacks by Andy Mozina

Midnight in Siberia by David Greene

Strings Attached by Diane Decillis

Down from the Mountaintop: From Belief to Belonging by Joshua Dolezal

The New Testament by Jericho Brown

You Don't Know Me by James Nolan

Phoning Home: Essays by Jacob M. Appel

Words We Might One Day Say by Holly Karapetkova

Murder by Danielle Collobert

Sorrow by Catherine Gammon

The Americans by David Roderick

Put Your Hands In by Chris Hosea

I Think I Am in Friends-Love With You by Yumi Sakugawa

Third Wife by Jiri Klobouk

box of blue horses by Lisa Graley

Review of Hilary Plum’s They Dragged Them Through the Streets

The Sleep of Reason by Morri Creech

The Hush before the Animals Attack by Carol Matos

Regina Derieva, In Memoriam by Frederick Smock

Review of The House Began to Pitch by Kelly Whiddon

Hill William by Scott McClanahan

Seamus Heaney Aloft

The Bounteous World by Frederick Smock

Review of The Tide King by Jen Michalski

Going Down by Chris Campanioni

Review of Empire in the Shade of a Grass Blade by Rob Cook

Review of The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor

Review of The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish

Review of Life Cycle Poems by Dena Rash Guzman

Review of Saint X by Kirk Nesset

Review of Jessica Treadway's Please Come Back to Me

Eve Asks by Christine Redman-Waldeyer