A review of Mother, Loose by Hannah Rodabaugh in PANK here.
A review of Mother, Loose by Grace Cavalieri in the Washington Independent Review of Books (March 2015 Exemplars) under “Best Chapbooks.”
A review of Mother, Loose by Sivan Butler-Rotholz in Diode here.
A review of Mother, Loose by Michael Dennis on Today’s Book of Poetry can be read here.
You can read Accents’ interview with Brandel about her poetry chapbook, Mother, Loose in its entirety or an excerpt below:
Accents Publishing: Throughout Mother, Loose, you are working with characters borrowed from nursery rhyme and fairy tale, as well as inventing characters within those worlds. And in doing so, you give what are often considered old children’s stories a more mature, modern context. Readers will encounter Mary and her lamb skipping school to go to the mall, and find that the dish and the spoon are only a small part of a larger utensil community full of fulfilled and spurned loves. What makes these “children’s” rhymes so compelling to you as an adult? In thinking about bringing children’s rhymes to an adult audience, how do you hope your poems will alter a reader’s view of these stories and characters? Is it elaboration? Subversion? Something else entirely?
Brandel France de Bravo: I am fascinated by Mother Goose rhymes—they way they stay with you, like a baby tooth that lingers into middle age (I have one of those that’s finally giving up the ghost). The simple rhymes bring bodily joy—to repeat them is to remember pumping your legs on a swing. While their forms are tight and unwavering—closed even—there is something Steinian and open-ended about their nonsense-wisdom. After all these years, I still find many of them mysterious, as though they were excerpts or fragments from a larger narrative. All those Jacks, each with his own story: the one who went up the hill, the one who sits in a corner, the thin one with the rotund wife. They beg for, if not completion, amplification.
While we may not have known it as children, nursery rhymes contain ghosts of history and custom. Surely, we felt those ghosts, just as we felt, and I still feel, the darkness behind the rhymes. It is there like the bird leg hidden beneath the skirt of the old woman said to be the source of these rhymes. You could say that nursery rhymes are a lot like our mothers: they are soothing as a washcloth on the forehead, but they have a “past.” This past is not spoken of so much as hinted at. As a young girl, I was frightened and seduced by the wickedness of Mother Goose rhymes: Peter who put his wife in a pumpkin shell, and Georgie Porgie Pudding and Pie who kissed the girls and made them cry. How could I not want a kiss so powerful that it would make me cry?