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Review of Jordemoder: Poems of a Midwife

  • Fri, February 03, 2023 11:54 AM
    Message # 13083866

    Title: Jordemoder – Poems of a Midwife

    Author: Ingrid Andersson has practiced as a home-birth nurse midwife for over 20 years. She studied poetry, literature and anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net and has appeared in multiple journals. Jordemoder is her debut collection.

    Genre/page length: Poetry – 73 pages

    Date published/publisher: 2022/Holy Cow! Press

    Reviewer:  Rebecca Hallie Swanson


    When reading Jordemoder – Poems of a Midwife, one can get lost in the cadence of birth, life and death cycles, opposing feelings of hope and helplessness, and surprising observations and insights into some of the characters to which the reader is introduced.

    Andersson’s poetry is both muscular and delicate, drawing on the author’s international experiences, profession, and familial relationships in addition to her observations, joys and frustrations with the state of the world. The thoughtful sections of this volume each stand on their own merit and as a whole provide a solid work demonstrating that poetry in the authentic voice is alive and well.

    For this reader, it was a gift to be introduced to Andersson’s mother through verse in the book’s first section, “Daughter.” At times memoir-like, the poems portray an older woman who is artistic and smart, but without much formal education. However, this woman is tender and vulnerable (as when listening to Verdi) and strong as an oak when hauling gallons of water, or when in the poem “Self Help,” she ably pushes herself up from the ground when done treating hens to handfuls of oxalis. Andersson’s lush language – buckets of compost are “proud wealth” – teems with grit and old-world know-how.

    The “Midwife” section is a devotion to women who give birth and those midwives who are dedicated to the safety and sanctity of the birthing process, in spite of a changing world that elicits heartache, pleasure, pain and wonder.

    Fear, love and anger are themes in the “Mother” section.  Poetic reflections on raising a child in the midst of neighborhood violence and the gloom of all that’s wrong with the world are balanced by the everyday tenderness of parenting a son. And then comes the stage, as in “Feeling Game,” when your son challenges you and you challenge him right back: “… fight like a mother for gun control – is that the point of video gaming?”

    There’s much more to explore in the final sections of Jordemoder. Read and re-read the lush “Swedish Pancakes.” “It Takes a Dog” tells of a universal moment when a connection made with a stranger is unforgettable. “Hope” reaches into the recesses of the heart when during a calm moment the mind takes over and ruminates on how one can possibly have hope for our world and society.

    Treat yourself to Jordemoder – Poems of a Midwife, a compelling debut collection proficiently delivered by Ingrid Andersson.

    ReviewerRebecca Hallie Swanson worked for 30 years leading communications in the arenas of health care, insurance, higher education, the arts and membership associations in the Twin Cities and Chicago. Now living in Northwest Wisconsin, she devotes time to writing across genres and is a volunteer for the Wisconsin Writers Association.

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