Samantha Kolber’s debut poetry chapbook, Birth of a Daughter is an important addition to an authentic conversation about motherhood that goes beyond trite, worn-out tropes. For decades, writers have been pushing back against rainy-day activities and the-years-go-by-so-fast to offer a nuanced, visceral account of what it is to parent. Kolber’s poetry does exactly this. She offers an intimate conversation—an evening over wine with a friend—about what pregnancy, birth, and parenting feel like and sound like, not just what it looks like. It’s the opposite of Instagram.
Her inner monologue and experiences are beautifully specific and yet speak to the inherent and universal duality of mothering. “I am one becoming two, becoming one / again,” she writes in one poem and, “you and I / tied together / like a planet and moon” in another. The gravitational pull is both a comfort and burden, and glimpses like these give Kolber’s work the weight of truth.
Kolber, also a fiction writer, gives the collection the arch of a narrative and the emotionally courageous tone of a memoir. Poetry gives it range and variety, from freewriting to fragments. Birth of a Daughter captures the rite of generations shifting: daughter, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, passing beyond, showing up again in daughter.
We want art to reflect lived life, but life as it really is. This collection is up late at night, proud, naked, feral, conflicted. It reveals why birthing a daughter matters, and why being a daughter matters. “There is a world at my fingertips,” she writes, “Or, / I am the world—fingertipped.”
Read Birth of a Daughter and become transported into this intimate world.
Birth of a Daughter (Kelsay Books) Release Date: Sept. 1, 2020
42 pages / 6 x 9 paperback / ISBN: 9781952326363 / $16.00