The Mother Wart
Author: Dylan Krieger
Publisher: Vegetarian Alcoholic Press (2019)
The Mother Wart is a book of prose poems loosely based around the tenets of the Church of Euthanasia, whose only commandment—for both ethical and practical reasons—is "thou shalt not breed." Looking beyond the movement's environmental and social goals, The Mother Wart delves into an autobiographical meditation on early memories and associations with motherhood, childbirth, infancy, and female sexuality, emphasizing the importance of early childhood trauma in the decision to abstain from having children of one's own. In its thick fog of sound play, close-set cycles of internal rhyme evoke a nursery rhyme starting to spin off-kilter, a grade-school chant turned violent and unpredictable. This is the version of the fairy tale in which the witch wins. But here, the witch is also mother, the origins of life transformed into a sign of virus (the wart). The grotesque, therefore, figures heavily throughout these poems, especially in the sense of Mary Russo's The Female Grotesque, which points out the pregnant female body constitutes the epitome of the human form as a site of volatile and irrepressible change—traversing that rare region between revulsion and attraction, in which the two at last appear not so opposed after all, but rather the respective poles of a dividing line that in fact comes full circle if followed far and fearlessly enough.