Poetry / Katherine Anderson Howell
:: Baby Blues ::
From the writer
:: Account ::
“Baby Blues” is part of a series of poems that mark the grief, fear, and change of identity associated with motherhood and marriage. In these poems, images of the sea, certain flowers, and the night sky repeat. I use images of stars, whether jasmine or novas, as reminders that our lives are part of vast, only partly knowable, systems. My work embraces this mystery as a key element, not only through exploring such imagery but also through a process called “textual poaching,” to borrow a term from fandom scholar Henry Jenkins. Poaching is evident in “Baby Blues,” which began as a found poem, as the story of Miriam Carey connected with my own struggles. However, as I began to research brain science and medical journalism, as well as have personal conversations with more mothers about their experiences with postpartum depression, I discovered obscurity around postpartum depression and obtuse suggestions for treating it. I paired the digital media history of twenty-first-century postpartum depression to pair with the story of my own darkness. Women from all races and social classes have had their stories silenced by this media cacophony. The multi-voiced poem was born.
Katherine Anderson Howell writes and parents in Washington, D.C. She is the editor of Fandom as Classroom Practice: A Teaching Guide, from the University of Iowa Press. Her poems can be found in Gargoyle Magazine, Sweet Tree Review, Juke Joint Mag, and Stillwater Review, among others.