Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe, September 2017)
Poetry Book Society Choice
Mama Amazonica is set in a psychiatric ward and in the Amazon rainforest, an asylum for animals on the brink of extinction. It reveals the story of Pascale Petit’s mentally ill mother and the consequences of abuse. The mother transforms into a giant Victoria amazonica waterlily, and a bestiary of untameable creatures – a jaguar girl, a wolverine, a hummingbird – as she marries her rapist and gives birth to his children. From heartbreaking trauma, there emerge luxuriant and tender portraits of a woman battling for survival, in poems that echo the plight of others under duress, and of our companion species. Petit does not flinch from the violence but offers hope by celebrating the beauty of the wild, whether in the mind or the natural world.
The cover design is by Dragana Nikolic.
Poems from the book have appeared in Berfrois, www.granta.com, Interlitq, New Humanist, The Normal School, Ploughshares, Poem, Poetry, Poetry London, The Poetry Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, and Queen Mob’s Teahouse. The manuscript in progress was awarded an Arts Council England grant, to complete the book and for a trip to the Peruvian Amazon.
Sample poem ‘My Wolverine’ filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce for Bloodaxe
An essay about Mama Amazonica, ‘Poetry as Exorcism’, is published in the spring 2015 issue of Mslexia:
‘Poetry as Exorcism’ Mslexia spring 2015
Read the essay here, click on images to enlarge: