Family Reunion

Edited by Sondra Zeidenstein

From the introduction: I am of the generation of poets with grown children. The generations after me, so much bolder already than many of us who came of age in the 1940’s and 50’s, will be older than I am now before their late-born children are adult. I’ll be gone. Now is the time to extend the poetic imagination to this aspect of human experience. What is holding us back? In a workshop I attended a few years ago, a poet read a poem about her response to her grown daughter’s anger, whose chilling first lines, addressing the reader, say something like: don’t ever say a word about this poem to anyone, don’t whisper about it, even to me, I never wrote it, you never heard it. Then what is permissible for us to write?

This first-of its-kind collection, gathering sixty-five poems by contemporary American writers on the theme of parenting grown children, answers the question.

At last, a deep need met. Family Reunion exposes a long buried cultural taboo: the self-imposed silence of parents, especially mothers, about their grown children whose problems become our problems, feed our guilt, shame, remorse and pain, despite our love. All this is voiced by Zeidenstein’s surgically honest essay and the sixty-five moving poems by poets who are parents. Tema Nason

Here are mirrors in which I see faces I know well. A beautiful, sad, thrilling, groundbreaking collection. Toi Derricotte
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