“I Gave Her a Name” Bulleted List of Poems

Please see the bulleted list of poems according to the four themes discussed in the Exponent book review of “I Gave Her a Name.”

Theme 1: Heavenly Mother is multifaceted and complex, and embodies dialectical and opposing traits

  • “She is total brightness, then darkness, then brightness again” (Her Brightness and Glory, p. 58)
  • She embodies opposites (Borders, p. 68)
  • Heavenly Mother is powerful, assertive, brave, directive (see “What Lin Taught Me, p. 14)
  • She is also extremely delicate and soft (Somewhere to Lay His Head, p. 55)

Theme 2: She embodies our human traits, emotions, and experiences

  • She shows love for her growing body and is confident taking up space (Space, p. 16)
  • She’s lost things (Lost, p. 49)
  • She is connected to her mothers and sisters, even if they are lost to her (What Claudia Taught Me, p. 50)
  • She Feels Grief (Her Grief, p. 50; Unraveling, p. 117)
  • She wants to be understood, even though it’s hard (Her brightness and Glory, p. 58)
  • She gets scared (Stoic Mother, p. 65)
  • She is learning (Through, p. 69)
  • She knows the pain of being violated (She’ll Say, p. 83)
  • She remembers the things that have happened to her and keeps records of her life (The Archivist, p. 90; What Joanna Taught Me, p. 91)
  • She remembers the things that have happened to women and keeps records of it (What Joanna Taught Me, p. 91; When She’s Handed the Book, p. 95)
  • She loves nature (The Mother Still Delights, p. 104)
  • She’s political and directive in responding to injustice and pain (What Karim Taught Me, p. 63, She Witnesses, p. 63; Like Lady Liberty, p. 119; What Paul Taught Me, p. 174)
  • She cries (The God Who Weeps, p. 125; The Mother Cried Power, p. 126; How Heavens weep, p. 136; Why Heavens Weep, p. 137; What Lisa Taught Me, p. 137)
  • She feels anger and rage (On Female Anger, p. 12; What Laurel Taught Me, p. 126; What Rebecca Ann Taught Me, p. 128; Moon Mother, p. 173)
  • She’s quiet without a microphone and has a hard time being hard; she talks as loud as she can (Without a Microphone, p. 133)
  • She knows who exactly she is (A House, p. 148)
  • She carries her experiences in her body (Where She Carries, p. 168)
  • She knows what it is like to be cast out and alone in the wilderness, but to still make things beautiful (Exile, p. 264)

Theme 3: Heavenly Mother caretakes us is so many varied, individual, intricate, and intimate ways

  • Checking after us, often, all day (“To See If We’ve Called, p. 26)
  • She sits with us (What Margaret Taught Me, p. 28) – those dying, in labor, she cries with outcasts
  • She calls attention to others’ pain and those who are forgotten  (The Unseen mother, p. 29; The Unheard Mother, p. 135; Blood Issues, p. 143)
  • She sends proxies to help us (e.g., when we’re throwing up; Proxies, p. 29)
  • She keeps watch while we sleep and greets us before and after bed (“The Lamplighter, p. 46)
  • She is our home (Home, p. 54) and where we belong (Where We Belong, p. 55)
  • She knows our stories (Well Behaved Women, p. 62)
  • She would do anything for us (What Karim Taught Me, p. 63)
  • She lets us try things (Free-Range Parent, p. 67) and lets us make our own mistakes (Helicopter Parent, p. 67)
  • She goes with us places (Of a Good Courage, p. 78)
  • She leaves a trail for us to find her (A Trail of Small Items, p. 79)
  • When she can’t take us with her, she’ll leave us with a blessing and offer comfort (What Steven Taught Me, p. 88)
  • She holds us, even when pull away from her (What Rosie Taught Me, p. 108)
  • She does unseen things all day (What Heather (Re)Taught Me, p. 108)
  • Feeds us, dresses us, gives us Vitamin C drops and tissues when we’re sick (What a Mother Does, p. 111)
  • She is a place we can rest (The Napping Place, p. 111)
  • She wants us to not hate our bodies or ourselves (Things She Hopes For Her Daughters, p. 112)
  • She understands our cries in different languages (The Linguist, p. 120)
  • She remembers important facts like all of the alphabets, how the stars and suns move, etc. (She Knows it by Heart, p. 123)
  • Sometimes she doesn’t talk, but she brings gifts (What Te Fiti Taught Me, p. 131)
  • She honors women’s stories and voices and writes them down (What the Exponent Taught Me, p. 132)
  • When things are desperate, she leaves her throne and comes down to us (What Joe and Gina Taught Me, p. 138)
  • She teaches us things we need to know, like how to be carried, how to drink milk and eat honey, speaking her language, and how she will deliver us (Did Not Doubt, p. 138)
  • She runs to us after we’ve been gone or lost (Prodigal Daughter, p. 141)
  • She opens her arms to us all day long and wants us to run to her (The Woman with Outstretched Arms, p. 142)
  • She prays to us (What the Mother Prays To, p. 153)
  • She wishes for eternal rest while she provides it to her children (Her Hands are Open, p. 158)
  • She offered to come down to earth instead of us (I Am Here, p. 166)
  • She knows our pain and losses, binds our wounds, and helps us salvage what can be salvaged (When Things Break, p. 170; Kintsugi, p. 170)
  • She cries for us and holds us close to her (Moon Mother, p. 173)
  • There is nothing that can separate us from her love (What Paul Taught Me, p. 174; Other Things That Will Not Separate Us From Her Love, p. 173)

Theme 4: We are intimately connected as women to each other, and to our Heavenly Mother in lovely, intricate ways

  • We are connected to women, all the way back to Eve, and then Heavenly Mother (Matryoshka Dolls, p. 34, Mother Lines, p. 35)
  • We are connected to Heavenly Mother through our DNA (What Heidi Taught Me, p. 37)
  • We are connected to Heavenly Mother through the earth and nature (The/Her, p. 40)
  • The artwork includes women of varying ages and body sizes, and even generations. Some of the artwork includes pioneer women (e.g., see p. 164 and 167)

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