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The Spaces Between Birds
Mother/Daughter Poems, 1967–1995
Sandra McPherson

Wesleyan Poetry Series

1996 • 75 pp. 1 illus. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-2228-3
$12.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7251-6

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“With an elegant directness reminiscent of Anne Sexton’s, Spaces is a flock of hard truths, joyfully told . . . McPherson is a distinctive stylist and a compassionate voice whose work continues to enrich and reward readers.”—Publishers Weekly

In 1967, Sandra McPherson’s daughter Phoebe was born with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. Representing 28 years of work, these poems descripe the voyage on which mother and daughter embarked. Interspersed are poems by Phoebe.

In 1967, Sandra McPherson's daughter Phoebe was born with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. In The Spaces Between Birds, McPherson collects poems from six of her published books as well as new poems, uncollected poems, and poems written under a pseudonym, that draw on her experiences as a mother to Phoebe. Representing 28 years of work, these poems describe the voyage-both wrenching and exhilarating-on which mother and daughter embarked. Interspersed are poems by Phoebe, offering an illuminating and often searing counterpoint to those of her mother. The poems poignantly evoke the world created by autism, providing a rare sense of an inner life that has long been unapprehendable, and detailing the intimacy and ultimate alienness of relations even between mother and daughter, and even between word and meaning.

From the Book:

. . . branches,
moss-patched, rough and twisted,
broken at their furthest, weakest reach.
On the whorl where stresses flow.
Flowering, flowing plum, winter petals:
We are a single mother, an only child.
-Flowering Plum
To be or not to be: that is not a question
-Phoebe, age 4

SANDRA MCPHERSON is the author of twelve books of poetry, most recently Edge Effect (Wesleyan, 1966) and The God of Indeterminacy (Illinois, 1993). Her book The Year of Birth (Ecco, 1978) was nominated for the National Book Award and she has been featured on the Bill Moyers series The Language of Life. She is Professor of English at the University of California, Davis.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:55:12 -0500