For this book, Rachel Hunt-Steenblik wrote 246 small poems exploring aspects of our Heavenly Mother. And BCC’s own Ashley Mae Hoiland complemented these poems with more than 40 original drawings. The result is an intimate discussion of the deep human longing for a Mother God.
Carol Lynn Pearson, whose pioneering work created the space, that “Mother’s Milk” occupies, calls this collection “a major step toward filling the Mother-sized hole in our hearts.” And Joanna Brooks predicts that it “will teach the world what Mormon women know—perhaps uniquely—about God.” Here is just a taste of what you will find in this remarkable book:
I searched for my Mother, the way a baby roots for her mother’s breast, head nuzzling from side to side, mouth open, ready to suckle. But I was still thirsty. Then my belly grew, and my breasts grew, and a ravenous little thing came out. I offer her my milk without money and without price. My husband offered it to her once, while I sat beside them on a train. She pursed her lips against the false nipple, and stared at me with sad eyes. I wondered then, if Heavenly Mother walked into another room so we would take the bottle. I wondered then, if we are weaned.
Praise for Mother's Milk:
In these brief and moving poems, Rachel Hunt Steenblik recalls and reimagines the relationship between the daughters of God and their hidden and distant mother. Using her own experience and revelation as well as her wide research, Rachel recreates the Heavenly Mother many dream of knowing, a woman not unlike our own mothers, one who shares our own experience of motherhood." —Claudia L. Bushman, author of Contemporary Mormonism
"The warm, delicious, delicate and strong poems in Mother’s Milk moved and delighted me. Without doubt this book is a major step toward filling the Mother-sized hole in our hearts. Boldly pulling back the curtain of patriarchy to show that “God” is not a boy’s name and that we have never lived in a one-parent family, Rachel reminds us that our Mother has never ceased to nourish and love us." —Carol Lynn Pearson, author of Mother Wove the Morning, and The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy
"Rachel Hunt Steenblik is Mormonism's most essential and necessary poet since Carol Lynn Pearson. Out of her hunger for a mother God, she has made food for us all. Out of her losses, she has made milk. It's what women's bodies know how to do, of course. But Rachel, oh honey, few of us do it so openly, so truthfully, so plainly, so well. Come, come, everyone--Mormon or not, brothers, sisters, kindred--and take these words. I am so proud that this book will teach the world what Mormon women know--perhaps uniquely--about God." —Joanna Brooks, author of Book of Mormon Girl
"Love depends on this kind of ordinary, practical, moral creativity. Love depends on learning how to bend our ordinary lives—like a poet bends and saves ordinary words—into creative and morally responsive shapes.
On page after page of her book, Mother’s Milk: Poems in Search of Heavenly Mother, I watched Rachel Hunt Steenblik do this. Perfectly paired with Ashley Mae Hoiland’s striking drawings, I watched poem after poem practice this kind of moral creativity as part of the work of love." –Adam Miller, author of Letters to a Young Mormon
"Mother's Milk is wonderful. For me, its strength and beauty lies in the way it accepts the mystery of the feminine divine while simultaneously and confidently asserting that this mystery should no longer be relegated. In this way, the book reminds me of Emily Dickinson's line to 'tell all the truth but tell it slant,' which is the task of all good poetry and the task that Mother's Milk magnificently accomplishes. In addition, I love the way the endnotes highlight just how present the concept of Heavenly Mother has been within Mormonism, even if the mainstream culture so often fails to acknowledge this presence. Altogether, Mother's Milk is much needed addition to the Mormon canon. I hope it paves the way for similar projects to come." –Jon Ogden, author of When Mormons Doubt: A Way to Save Relationships and Seek a Quality Life
"Mormon women are strong; you don't walk a thousand miles across unfamiliar land into an arid valley you've never seen unless you've got the guts for it. Today's Mormon women evidence that same strength in coming together to demand acknowledgement of the feminine contribution to our existence. Rachel Hunt Steenblik's lovely and evocative book 'Mother's Milk' is a modern trek: a search for our Heavenly Mother, lost to theology but always present, waiting to comfort and consult. In this series of simple short poems She offers Her love and advice, Her songs, the comfort of Her arms, and in the end we are left feeling that accepting Her presence could go a long way toward curing the world's ills." –Claire Whitaker, author of "Hide and Seek," in Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings
"Truly a lovely exploration of the feminine divine and our everyday relationship with Her. I've got two daughters, 8 and 5. Both have loved reading the poems with me. While some of the concepts are beyond their reach, the book is one of many things in their lives right now helping them understand that the Heavenly Mother never is. All the stars, all the time for this one. I'll be buying more copies to give out as gifts." –Megan Conley, writer at meganconley.com
"A beautiful, poignant collection of poems. Frequently brought tears to my eyes with its longing and reaching for Heavenly Mother and the divine feminine. There's a personal and intimate connection with the divine present here that may not always be what my connection is or hopes to be, but is unabashedly Rachel's, modeling one path to strive towards the divine feminine. Ashmae's illustrations are a perfect accompaniment for Rachel's poetry—close, intimate, personal, and snuggly (you can almost cuddle up with them). The poems are brief snapshots, capturing moments and reworking familiar phrases, narratives, verses, ideas to include or focus on Heavenly Mother. I'm left hungry for more. I want to create & find my own connection to Heavenly Mother, to write my way there. Rachel gave me a delicious taste of that possibility here." –Conor Hilton, writer at conorhilton.wordpress.com