“Martha is a mirror. And in the mirror, Martha is double. Martha is
also the Other. This is the other of écriture feminine. This is the
Other of the female body, which in Hélène’s Cixous’ terms, is written
and is already text. I invite you to enter the mirror of this writing,
Martha and I in mirrors.”
In this third collection of poetry, Renee Norman inhabits Martha Quest
like a spirit, and rewrites her through poems that bring her into
being. Martha is Doris Lessing’s autobiographical protagonist from her
Martha Quest series of novels, and Norman “borrows” Martha and
encounters her in the mirror of writing. There she reflects upon,
interprets, and reimagines Martha, at times addressing Lessing, too.
But within—and in between—the lines and stanzas, she also encounters
herself, as she is filtered through Martha’s reflection, the Martha
who is in us all. Theses poems are about love and loss, birth and
motherhood, longing and abandonment, and the compassion and
understanding women can bring to one another.