30 months, day 18: residing
While not writing
Copyright © 2019 by Sara Mumolo
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Day Counter offers snapshots of daily life—in the home, at work, and within the societal (often politically charged) meeting-grounds we all navigate—that contemplate the concepts of naming, distance between speaker and experience, and dissonance of reality through a vernacular directness that is underwired with formal control. Permeating the work is an awareness of a never-certain next thing, balanced in an architecture poised upon the potential premise of its own collapse.
"Day Counter is at once an obsessive daily catalog and a wild derangement of the calendar—a dialectic that ably stands in for the dementing state of early motherhood—and Mumolo reconciles these opposing forces with ease. These poems are short, disciplined, and painstaking; they’re also angry, desperate, and funny. It’s rare to find a book that refuses to remove the rage, humor, grief, or sentiment from motherhood, but Mumolo, for our sake, keeps everything in."
—Sarah Manguso, author of 300 Arguments
"It is truly marvelous what Sara Mumolo has accomplished in these lucid, harrowing, thrilling prose poems of new motherhood. With dangerous intimacy, we experience anger, humor, the reality of the body, resistance, terror, frustration, and economic despair, as well as desire and love of many different kinds. There are also many moments of eerie calm, in which the poet is able to diagnose and name larger material and political forces. The magic of this book is how this poet completely preserves the disruptive and disturbing centrifugal force of all these thoughts and feelings, without ever sentimentalizing or taming them. This book is a space of an ongoing struggle for free thought and language, willed into being out of the midst of difficult circumstances. It is the vital enactment and record of a hidden life. In other words, it is poetry."
—Matthew Zapruder, author of Why Poetry and Sun Bear
"This short book is a surprisingly full portrait of the artist as a new mother and a member of the American precariat. Mumolo shows us the ways in which motherhood is entangled with products, pressure, patriarchy, and violence. These elements combine in striking, high-speed fashion in the 'Erase/Replace' sections: 'Experience the long range accuracy, downrange power, and sleep training of the FN SCAR.' As one 'administrator' casually states, 'It must be intense to have to deal with all that.' Indeed."
—Rae Armantrout, author of Entanglements
"Mumolo takes us through poems that are tributaries of fire. Flash observations of a warehoused mother in America. Where people only meet you on behalf of their society’s nature. Where we are oppressed but well-rehearsed. Poems like these help us to lower this system’s paper sun."
—Tongo Eisen-Martin, author of Heaven Is All Goodbyes
"You may have thought there was one hole per nipple, so two total. You were wrong. Likewise, you may have used one pronoun per person. 'IyouyouIyouI' sprays milk in all directions like a fully-ambidextrous instrument of assault. It gets the work desk, the parking space, the ambivalence, the tactical cribs, the wolverine, the swaddle — and the poem — wet, wet, wet with you’re counting the days, counting the swallows, counting the cash, the rubs, the feeding device."
—Sawako Nakayasu, author of The Ants