(Book Review) LUPA and LAMB by Susan Hawthorne, reviewed by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.

Lupa and Lamb cover 2-1This is such an excellent book for those of us who desire Her. It is a wonderful reframing and restoration of characters and events from the archives of consciousness: not all of whom may be fully known to the reader personally, but all are introduced very well, recalled and invited to mind with notes in the back of the book and at the side of pages.

My heart opened to this book of poems with the very beginning quote from Monique Wittig – one that I have loved and used often myself: a call to remember another time and place when we “bathed bare-bellied”, full of laughter, or, “failing that, invent.” This book by Susan Hawthorne fulfills this promise: it does all of that – remembers, brings forth smiles and laughter, and invents. It is an extraordinary weaving, a poetic work in the tradition of Marija Gimbutas’s archaeomythology.

I loved the metaphorical setting of a calling of all the characters, from across time and space, to a party at the Museum Matrica, and how the author framed herself as “Curatrix” of this Place: it is a Place where those who love Her desire to gather, to see with fresh eyes, with our own indigenous eyes … envision from within our own country, a native place within female being (which is actually the Native place of all being). It is a Place from which we have been thrown out – over millennia – mythically, historically, literally and most other ways: and to which we may return afresh. We may begin and nourish such re-creation through active imagination and piecing together of heretofore lost fragments, shards of clay and text … this book does all of that – is such a Poiesis, the making of a world.

I smiled often throughout the book, as I recognized feelings, perspectives, enjoyed the company, and with surprise and awe and gratitude, as my mind was bent more dramatically on occasion: for example, in the poem black sheep (p. 60) when the sheep reveal that it was they who had tricked the wolf (in the guise of innocence), not the other way around. As I read the poem Baubo (p.145), I laughed too, along with Demeter and all of us, especially where “Medusa laughs her head off”. This poem is an exquisite combination of joy and grief, the creation of something new, with recognition of how it has been, and calling forth the medicine of laughter.

There is much that I love about this book – you could keep it nearby and read a passage now and then, speak it to each other, attend the party (Livia’s party) frequently. As the Curatrix admonishes in the time of 2014 C.E. (p. 109),

there remain many texts

not yet open to the public

and so much more to excavate

Many stories will be told at Livia’s party, and the Curatrix will be gathering them. Livia’s connections (p.110-111) is a powerful poem of differences amongst us, and network complexities. I personally connect with Curatrix’s passion to invite La Donna Lupa Paleolitica (Paleolithic she-wolf) – whose current home is an unmarked back room in the Museum at Ancona … and to my mind, may represent the placement of so much of female lineage: yet the fact is told on p. 131 in cheerful style, with light-heart which the reader may find encouraging.

There is a series of poems from p.112 forward that describe the party, its attendees and their interactions. It is such a joyful place of celebration: as it says on p.119

there’s a vibration in the air rarely felt these past

six thousand years

The rich poetry and imagination of this book can only come from from one who knows much of the breadth and the depth of the whole story from the beginning, and the characters well – capable of an archaeology of consciousness, can spin it all and understand its complexity, from the Paleolithic to the present … so many of the goddesses and women we may love are named, and we may understand all as present.

The joy of the gathering is interspersed with somber moments as with the poem tomb of the forgotten women (p.134), yet even there it is a song, a chant of women’s names that raises them to attendance at the party. It is wholing/healing.

Eleonora d’Arborea (p.142) is a good example of the multivalent nourishment of LUPA and LAMB: this poem is a composition of a utopian vision, a new universal declaration – an outcome of the party – placed in the context of historical women from different eras, in combination with notes about each one at the back of the book. LUPA and LAMB is a party – a Conversation we (WE) might like to have with all of our selves – women and goddesses and perhaps all beings – across time and space: the creation of a global summit of a kind we might truly desire and enjoy, that would bear the fruit of prioritizing relational reality.

Read this book many times, and aloud to each other: in this way you may enjoy the journey that it is, and help bring the archaic future into being. One of the last poems, sibyls (p. 147), declares that

the future is now

and that

         … it is time to cease

          prophecying

that the times call for inventing: and so we may with

           our million mouths singing

and with the help of such poetry as LUPA and LAMB.

© Glenys Livingstone 2014

Read Meet Mago Contributor Susan Hawthorne.

Read Meet Mago Contributor Glenys Livingstone.

We, the co-editors, contributors, and advisers, have started the Mago Web (Cross-cultural Goddess Web) to rekindle old Gynocentric Unity in our time. Now YOU can help us raise this torch high to the Primordial Mountain Home (Our Mother Earth Herself) wherein everyone is embraced in WE. There are many ways to support Return to Mago. You may donate to us. No amount is too small for us. For your time and skill, please email Helen Hwang (magoism@gmail.com). Please take an action today and we need that! Thank YOU in Goddesshood of all beings!

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2 thoughts on “(Book Review) LUPA and LAMB by Susan Hawthorne, reviewed by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.

  1. Reblogged this on PaGaian Cosmology and commented:

    My heart opened to this book of poems with the very beginning quote from Monique Wittig – one that I have loved and used often myself: a call to remember another time and place when we “bathed bare-bellied”, full of laughter, or, “failing that, invent.” This book by Susan Hawthorne fulfills this promise: it does all of that – remembers, brings forth smiles and laughter, and invents. It is an extraordinary weaving, a poetic work in the tradition of Marija Gimbutas’s archaeomythology.

    Like

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