Mother Time: Poems New & Selected

Mother Time, by Joanne Arnott

Mother Time

Poems New and Selected

by Joanne Arnott


  • Spring 2007
  • ISBN 978-1-55380-046-0 (1-55380-046-X)
  • 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 140 pages
  • Poetry

After reading this collection, you will never look at mothers — at the playground, at the elementary school, or across the kitchen table — in quite the same way again. Beginning with a poem of pregnancy, written by her twenty-five year old self, Joanne Arnott leads us through a span of twenty years of inward- and outward-facing struggles, centred firmly in the ongoing work of becoming a mother.

Living on the thresholds between races — the poet is a prairie-born Métis — and between the generations, Arnott articulates the challenges of mothering in heart, body, and mind. Her work involves sometimes abstract, sometimes visceral long and short poems, song and chant. Through visiting and revisiting pregnancy, childbirth, lullabies, and multi-generational rage, the poetry moves from the desperation of survival through to a tender place of clarity. The sexual, the spiritual, and the sociological weave together here to shock, cajole, and ultimately to transform our picture of the inner life of the mother.

“In these taut, vivid poems, Métis writer Joanne Arnott takes us inside the experience of mothering. Pushed to what she calls ‘the limits of my form,’ she begins with the rounded body and transformations of pregnancy. Arnott then works us through the struggle to be born, the pain and the teachings of inter-generational relationships, and the vulnerabilities of lettering go, bringing us back, always, to the sacred essence of life. This book is a homecoming, with words so intimate, so grounded, and so nakedly honest that you will feel it, deep in the recesses of your own body.”
— Kim Anderson, author of A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood, and co-editor of Strong Woman Stories

“In Mother Time, Joanne Arnott masters the struggle between mothering and space: the struggle with the space to grow, and the struggle with the space between herself and her children. . . . I love the space she creates in her poetry.”
— Lee Maracle

“Like babies, these poems spring from the womb. Arnott draws us into the healing circle of her words, with urgent beauty, in tune with the temper of our times.”
— Susan Musgrave



“[Arnott’s] poems, her collection, leave a lasting impression of pure joy. She invokes the wisdom of the elders . . . she asserts the power of experience with the power of her words, stitching a path to follow out of the dark woods into the future”
Prairie Fire

“This book is sophisticated in a new way, wise to the rhythms of the body and healing.”
Canadian Literature

“[Arnott’s] poems are conversational and direct, and at their best combine a spare lyricism with personable candour”
Toronto Star