S234. Mother Lode, Mother Load: Writing Difficult Mothers and Others

Marquis Salon 3 & 4, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
Saturday, February 11, 2017
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


“Restless mother/from your breasts I sucked/ electrified milk/harsh lessons,” Neruda writes in “Ode to Restlessness.” This panel of five women writers—memoirists, poets, novelists, all from diverse backgrounds—explores how growing up with a mother or other adult who wielded wounding power over their lives has influenced their work. How does this mother lode work both as a vein of abundant resource and as inscrutable burden? What happens to writing after the spell of childhood is broken?



Janice Gary is the author of Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance, winner of two Nautilus Silver Awards and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. She is a faculty member at ASU's Master of Liberal Arts Program and teaches memoir workshops at writing centers and conferences.

Lisa D. Chavez has published two books of poetry, Destruction Bay and In An Angry Season, and has had essays included in several anthologies, including The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity, and An Angle of Vision: Women Writers on Their Poor and Working Class Roots.

Luisa A. Igloria’s books include Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (2014 May Swenson Prize), The Saints of Streets, and Juan Luna's Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize). She teaches at Old Dominion University, where from 2009–15 she directed the MFA Creative Writing Program.

Karen Salyer McElmurray’s Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother’s Journey was an AWP Award Series winner. Her novels are The Motel of the Stars and Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven, and she has coedited an essay collection, Writing into the Forbidden. She is visiting professor at Gettysburg College.

Sue William Silverman’s books are The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew; Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey Through Sexual Addiction; Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You; and Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir. She teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center