Better a Serpent
Stepmothers have had a bad rap since the 400s BC when Euripides claimed, “Better a serpent than a stepmother.” From Cinderella’s cruel Lady Tremaine and Snow White’s Maleficent, to the money-hungry, shallow figures in dozens of popular movies, to the zaftig and much younger Gloria in Modern Family, the figure has long embodied a range of stereotypes – often negative – of female identity. My current project explores the roles and representations of mothers and stepmothers in history, literature, and pop culture. Not only does this work allow me to better understand my own experience as a mother and stepmother, but it also allows me to make observations about the stereotypes that often accompany motherhood in all its forms. This lens will allow me to continue my exploration of female identity – a topic that has characterized much of my work in the last decade.
In addition to the poems that focus explicitly on motherhood and family dynamics, a secondary thread in this collection will be the quest to heal wounds that result from sexual violence and to temper the all-too-common self-destructive tendencies that have become part and parcel of growing up female in a deeply misogynistic world. Issues of addiction and recovery, as well as loss and self-discovery also characterize much of my work, and will be significant themes in the collection.