Maxine Susman writes the compelling story not just of her own mother, but of women who came from immigrant backgrounds to overcome obstacles and push against the boundaries of traditional women's roles. In moving poems filled with personal feeling and colored by authentic historical detail, Susman gives us a young Jewish girl from Brooklyn during the Great Depression, who decides to become a doctor. These fascinating poems, glowing with insight and love, ask questions about the decisions we make in life. They will leave you thinking about the combination of talent, circumstances, perseverance, and luck that shapes us when we're young and follows us through our lives.
--Maria Gillan, winner of the American Book Award for All That Lies Between Us
"History doesn't end, but histories do--" writes Maxine Susman in her extraordinarily poignant book, My Mother's Medicine, where the poet dares to imagine and resurrect her mother's life, even amidst the "crumbling memories" of existence. How emotional and complex was that life, is every life, the poet is teaching us, through her beautiful mother's story as a groundbreaking doctor and through the celebration of other inspiring women; and as when she movingly writes of her grandfather, "No one alive now who knew him/who carries him ahead." This poet's unearthly and heart-rending task: to carry them ahead, to hold on to what cannot be held.
--Emily Fragos, author of Saint Torch