In Matrilineal, Therese Gleason shows the reader the many faces of Mother Eve from childhood to old age, with clarity of vision that omits nothing. The centrality of the female body to the continuity of human life is here, as well as the dual appeal and repulsion of sex; the superstitions surrounding conception and childbirth; the social and religious attitudes that link sex to both duty and sin; the mother-daughter relationship in all its ambiguity; and the equally complex "battle of the sexes" that both divides and links irrevocably those responsible for our survival as a species. The text is studded with surprising poems that include medical procedures, observations on other forms of life, the woman as gateway between the living and the dead, her role as "keeper of the archive" seeking "meaning and patterns," and an account of a descent into Mammoth Cave "through the black waters they call home." These haunting poems are guaranteed to keep you wide awake through countless readings.
-Rhina P. Espaillat, Author, most recently, of The Field, and co-author of Brief Accident
of Light: Poems of Newburyport, in collaboration with Alfred Nicol
Therese Gleason's Matrilineal is poetry of invocation, a calling forth the spirits of family history rooted in the landscape of memory and place. Her poems are archeology that mine the intersections of both the sharp and soft edged fragments of lineage and self that with her craft as poet painstakingly interlock the pieces into a vessel of wholeness. In her collection, Gleason becomes "keeper of the archive" as her "ancestor's elemental eyes/the color of land, sea and sky, stare through me." Matrilineal is a poetic journey through the sacred burial ground of both history and the human psyche; hers is language rooted in generations "heady with retrograde legacies" that examines the source of human fractures and attachments. It is a stunning collection that feels important and necessary for our time.
-Maura MacNeil, Author of This Last Place (Dancing Girl Press)
Connected as they are to a rich female life, these poems arrive from various sources. I admire their clean lines and images and the way they interrogate motherhood, ancestry, place and myth. Both brave and redemptive, they do "leave a mark of their own".
-Joseph Millar, Author of Kingdom
About the Author
Therese Gleason is author of Libation (2006), selected by Kwame Dawes as co-winner of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative Chapbook Competition. A Pushcart nominee, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Plainsongs, The Worcester Review, America, New Ohio Review, San Pedro River Review, Literary Mama, Psaltery & Lyre, Halfway Down the Stairs, Painted Bride Quarterly, SWWIM Every Day, Off the Margins, and Mass Poetry's Hard Work of Hope/Poem of the Moment Series. A literacy teacher and MFA candidate at Pacific University, she lives with her husband and three children in Worcester, MA.