Monday, June 13, 2016

Letters for My Daughter by Ann Howells

Letters for My Daughter consists of poems about the relationship between a mother and daughter. It begins the daughter's birth and extends to her marriage and beyond. In this case, the daughter deals with several illnesses. The poems are universal, as every child will have some problems, physical, mental, or behavioral in the process of becoming an adult. The problems may not be the same as the ones included here, but mothers are likely to understand the trepidation with which such problems are approached and eventually overcome.  


Ann Howells’ poems in her new book, Letters for My Daughter, probe the deep emotions a woman experiences in bearing and raising a daughter. She connects her reader to these life-altering experiences through her choice of words …words of imagination, originality, and poetic skill. Her work is evocative and stirring and never predictable. The reader will experience a strong emotional resonance in her recounting of this life journey through her well-chosen and deeply-honest words. This is a brave volume of poetry.

Carol Hamilton
Former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma

In “Letters for my Daughter,” Ann Howell’s exquisite language gives us a fresh and vivid exploration of the mother/daughter relationship, from the first animal pleasures to the fearful letting go.  “You are the spindle/around which my life is inextricably wound.”  Her keen observations illuminate the desperate but ultimately ineffectual prayer—keep her safe!  All a mother can do is look and love.  Ann’s beautiful poems tore at my mother-heart.  You don’t need to be a mother to be moved by their beauty.

Elizabeth Raby 
Author of The Year the Pears Bloomed Twice, 
Ink on Snow, and This Woman, a finalist 
for the Arizona-New Mexico Book Award. 

Proof of Substance.  In these glistening poems Ann Howells documents Proof of Substance--the precious, ephemeral thing that is the love of a mother for her daughter.  From the moment of birth, through episodes tragic and comic, we are given glimpses into the events that helped define both her life—and her daughter’s life.  In these poems, as both observer and mentor, these poems that chronicle her daughter’s growth, Ann sets down, in carefully constructed lines, her own gathering of wisdom.  Consider the poem Cleave where she says:  not of the same mold but of the same material.  This is a statement every parent grows into knowing. We understand completely when the poet says, “Yours is the blood to blood call I am impelled to answer.” This book is an emotional, rewarding journey that every mother will treasure. 

Alan Birkelbach
2005 Texas State Poet Laureate

Ann Howells' poetry is a celebration of motherhood, womanhood and, thus, humanity. She outlines a map of their scars, bodies, illnesses, joys – and thereby provides a mirror. Look into it. 

Bob McCranie
Publisher, Red River Review

About the Author:

Ann Howells’ poetry appears in such journals as Borderlands, Calyx, Concho River Review, Crannog, Iodine, Little Patuxent Review, Spillway, and a variety of anthologies including: Goodbye, Mexico and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VIII: Texas (both Texas Review Press) and Pushing the Envelope, Texas Weather Anthology, and Wise-Ass Poetry Anthology (all Lamar University Press). She has served on the board of Dallas Poets Community, 501-c-3 non-profit, since 2001, and has edited Illya’s Honey since 1999, recently going digital ( and taking on a co-editor. In 2001, she was named “Distinguished Poet of Dallas;” she won first place in Southwest Writer’s Poetry Competition in 2006 and in The Legendary’s Bukowski Contest in 2009. She has been a finalist in several national chapbook/book competitions, including Southern Hum in 2006, NavWorks in 2007, and Off the Grid in 2015. Her chapbook, Black Crow in Flight, is from Main Street Rag Publishing, 2007. Her first book, Under a Lone Star, is from Village Books Press, 2016. Cattlemen & Cadillacs, an anthology of Dallas/Fort Worth poems that she is editing, will be released in early summer (Dallas Poets Community Press). Ann has been read on NPR, interviewed on Writers Around Annapolis television, and nominated four times for a Pushcart, twice for a Best of the Net. 

40 pages, 29 poems

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