What does it mean to say yes?--to God, to the Spirit, to art, to love, to motherhood, to the dazzling & tangible world? Mary's response to the angel, saying "Let it be to me as you have said," is an essential moment in the life of a disciple, a woman, and an artist. In Madonna, Complex, Mary's "yes" is a moment of opening, of allowing her very body to become a co-creator with God and a conduit for the coming of grace into the world. However, womanhood in all its fullness--sexuality, marriage, infertility, childbirth, nursing--inevitably complicates traditional Christian imagery of Mary. Madonna, Complex chronicles a feminine faith journey alongside saints like Joan of Arc and Saint Kateri, images of motherhood in visual art, through holy days of the Christian calendar--Ash Wednesday, Holy Saturday, All Saints Day--and sites of pilgrimage, cathedrals, wilderness, and other places holiness can be found. These poems explore the complexities of the messages we receive about what it means to say yes to God, or to something larger than ourselves that demands our attention and energy, whether it's bearing a child or participating in a political protest.
Jen Stewart Fueston is the author of two chapbooks, Visitations (2015) and Latch (2019). Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net and has appeared widely in publications such as Ruminate, Mom Egg Review, and The Christian Century. She has taught writing at the University of Colorado, Boulder, as well as internationally in Hungary, Turkey, and Lithuania. She lives in Longmont, Colorado with her husband and two young sons.