A while back I read Kate Clanchy's 2004 collection Newborn. According to the little bit of poking around I did, it seems writing about something as girlie as motherhood diminished her standing the poetry world. But I liked it, and I especially liked that all the poems put together told real, complete story. As I was reading it the first time I wasn't knocked over by any one poem, until the end, but by the time I finished I had an enormous amount of respect for what she'd done. It progresses the way life with a newborn does, from the insulated, cocooned world of the early months to everyday life slowly penetrating back through sweet fog, and the way she depicts that is brilliant. The last poem is an absolute stunner and cut me right to the quick, and it would completely stand on its own but it's a spoiler so we'll have something else.
Learning to Walk by Kate Clanchy
He's on the brink - all day
hanging on a table's edge,
nosing his feet - his fists - his grand
round Sévres head, slowly
All my life
I've smashed cups and wept,
and this is forever too, I guess;
this liquid heart, this sense
that he's the water, I'm the glass.