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Fothermather – Gail McConnell Pamphlet Launch
19th November 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Fothermather is an exploration of parenthood beyond the categories of ‘mother’ and ‘father’, and a celebration of new life in new language.
‘What am I to you? Mother? Father? Neither?
Like cells, names split & double, unified.’
– from ‘Untitled / Villanelle’
With a playfully genderqueer title containing both ‘father’ and ‘mother’, Fothermather explores love, language and forms of attachment beyond biology. Bobbing in its sea, we find the seahorse: the curious queer creature who patterns the pages. Playful, political and inquisitive, these poems chart the experience of IVF, pregnancy and parenthood for a family taking shape in Northern Ireland, where same-sex marriage is illegal and NHS fertility treatment is withheld from same-sex couples. Mixing prose poem, calligram, sonnet, erasure and anagram, Fothermather is a strikingly original book of sensitive and vulnerable exploration in conversation with Sigmund Freud, D.W. Winnicott, Virginia Woolf and other fothermathers. Vahni Capildeo calls it ‘a book of thoughtful welcome and letting-go, where language gives way to newness and wonder’. Donika Kelly writes that the poems ‘startle and astound with wit and the fulsomeness of love’.
Gail McConnell publishes poetry and literary criticism and is Senior Lecturer in English at Queen’s University Belfast. Her first pamphlet is Fourteen (Green Bottle Press, 2018) and her poems have appeared in Poetry Review, PN Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and Blackbox Manifold. Winner of the Ink Sweat & Tears Poetry Pamphlet Competition, McConnell’s Fothermather is the resulting publication.