Book cover
You Could Make This Place Beautiful
A memoir.
Maggie Smith

I’ve been a fan of Maggie Smith’s poetry—like so many people—since I first discovered her when her poem Good Bones went “viral”. I love the straight forward imagery of her poetry and I especially love that she writes so beautifully about motherhood.

I also have a very special memory of taking my poet-child Isabel to Maggie’s reading at Arizona State University several years ago. Isabel saw in her an inspiring and positive role model. I only wish all my kids role models could be this pure.

So I was not surprised that I loved this book. Fair warning, it is sad. But also redemptive and self-actualizing. My work was not the problem. My work was the solution. I kept us here with words.. And it speaks eloquently and honestly about the sacrifices that are worth it:

I’ve loved them without having to try at all, because I’m their mother, and the love is not work. Parenting is work: the cooking of meals, the washing of clothes, the tending of wounds, the taming of cowlicks, the helping with homework, the driving to soccer, the packing of lunches, the finding of missing things (water bottle lids, baseballs, library books, mittens), the consoling to sleep. The love? It’s not work.