Memory of a Girl


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In the narrative poems of Memory of a Girl, a young poet journeys to Japan to spend a month caring for her beloved grandmother, who is battling Alzheimer’s disease. There, she struggles to come to terms with a changed grandmother who tells circular, repetitive stories and places the poet into her past. Watching and listening to her grandmother day and night, the poet grapples with the reality and terror of memory loss — the loss of identity, and of history — and fears losing her own precious memories of growing up on her family’s organic vegetable farm. The chapbook mixes joy with sorrow and love as it describes a grandmother slowly becoming once more a girl, and a young woman desperately holding on to childhood bliss as she shifts into adulthood.

Praise for Memory of a Girl:

“Reading the poems of Aozora Brockman, I realize what is possible when a sensitive soul is raised within a family close to the living earth, who has the genius to pay attention to her one precious life. These poems are startlingly beautiful, original not by being odd but by being more deeply loving, more keenly observed, more acutely alive in their language. They expand our notions of memory and pulse with truth and life as they introduce a brilliant young poet. Aozora Brockman’s work is rare and generous. She is writing the poems we need.”

— Rachel Jamison Webster, author of The Endless Unbegun and September

“I love the feel of this book. Aozora Brockman’s is a different kind of writing. Natural. Open-hearted. Filled with the ones she loves. Memory of a Girl lifts me with hope.”

— Chris Green, author of Résumé and The Sky Over Walgreens

“Like Wordsworth, like Rilke, the poems of Aozora Brockman return again and again to the inexhaustible well of childhood. Yet the heart of Brockman’s meditations on time and memory is her relationship with a beloved grandmother suffering dementia. These poems are the bridge upon which youth and age meet in sympathy, retaining the clear-eyed candor of the girl, combined with the insight shaped by experience.”

— Averill Curdy, author of Song & Error

“Poetry in the hands of Aozora Brockman is the exquisitely sharp scalpel that peels back life at its most poignant and powerful. We slip inside the ether-world of her Japanese grandmother who sometimes remembers, but mostly forgets, and who every once in an excruciating while is piercingly aware of the diminutions exacted by her Alzheimer’s disease. And yet, a few poems later we are sinking our muddy toes into the loamy bottomland of Brockman’s family farm along a winding ancient Illinois stream. Brockman brings scene after scene to life, plunking us deep in its heart. Memory, its mysteries and complexities, is her leitmotif; her grandmother, the lens through which all is magnified.”

— Barbara Mahany, author of Slowing Time: Seeing the Sacred Outside Your Kitchen Door
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