I Wore This Dress Today for You, Mom

Red Hen Pr. Apr. 2022. 128p. ISBN 9781636280233. pap. $19.95. POETRY
In confiding, conversational poems full of homey detail, Dower (Sunbathing on Tyrone Power’s Grave) plunges deep into motherhood, limning her relationship with her own mother and how it has shaped her life. “I’ve got a closet filled/ with dresses I need to show you,” she says wistfully, but she’s never sentimental in her portrayal of their past together or of the world around her. Her mother was a different sort of mother—“City mothers, we know about bus routes,/ …people on the eighth floor”—and her mother’s assertiveness and many disappointments create a restless undercurrent beneath the controlled surface of the poetry. But Dower remains tender as she relates facing her mother’s dementia, and gently wry when capturing the arc of “bringing up children, watching them grow.” And she doesn’t dwell solely on domestic exigencies, wanting to know what we will make of our lives and leave behind: “It’s the wholeness [of a sardine] that excites me:/ …I want to taste the murky world/ beyond my future.”
VERDICT Lit up with sudden lyricism (“Her body releasing mist from the hurricane inside her”), Dower’s sharply observed quotidian detail will draw in even casual readers of poetry.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing