Vanilla Milk: A Memoir Told in Poems
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About the Author
Chanel Brenner's poems have appeared in Cultural Weekly, Poet Lore, Rattle, The Coachella Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Foliate Oak, Glassworks, and others. She was awarded first prize for her poetry in The Write Place At the Write Time's contest. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.
"Grief is heavier than concrete. A mother's grief is fierce, dark and insatiable...That's what I learned from Vanilla Milk...The intimacy of these poems brings us face to face with the mother's unbearable pain, which somehow must be borne...But even in her deepest sorrow his mother is compassionate toward the suffering of mothers and their ailing children." NANCY GERBER Mom Egg Review
"This collection of free verse and essay-like vignettes is about moving forward through the concrete that is unexplainable loss...The bravery with which she writes is, frankly, incomprehensible and her straightforwardness is a primer for anyone who knows someone who has lost a child...As you trek through the book you learn that she is not just grieving the loss of Riley, but also the slipping away of friendships, safety, and the general feeling of normalcy that accompanies everyday life...Truly, it is the simplicities of the moments she captures that really moved me as a parent. If you scroll through my iPhone you don't see pictures of huge events, you find my efforts to capture the magic that I see in the common times when I look into my children's eyes...Brenner has a way of closing out each poem with lines that knock the wind out of you, but turning the page doesn't feel optional...Vanilla Milk is raw, uncensored, and beautiful. If you know someone who has struggled through the loss of a child this book will offer you insight into things they are probably afraid to vocalize. Chanel Brenner writes as if she is unafraid of judgment, and perhaps she is, since she has suffered so deeply and understands the depths of loss in a way I pray I will never have to." MICHAEL BRYANT, Mamalode