Carrie Fountain and the ‘Daring Political Act’ of Writing About Motherhood

By Emily Donahue & Alexandra HartOctober 19, 2014 5:51 pm

Carrie Fountain is searching for something.

The Austin-based poet recently released “Instant Winner,” her second book of poems. In it, she reflects on parenthood and captures vignettes of moments from everyday life.

Fountain will be reading at the Texas Book Festival on Sunday, Oct. 26. She spoke with Texas Standard’s Emily Donahue about her book in advance of the festival.

“I think poetry just inherently feels more personal. … A lot of poetry does start with the ‘I,’ the self, and so it feels very intimate. I think that’s one of the things that draws people to poetry, is that it feels intimate, it feels like a confidence, it feels like you’re being kind of taken in by the poet. That’s the kind of poetry that I love.”

Title poem “Instant Winner” – named for a kid-friendly game at an Austin-area grocery – “ironically refers to the experience of parenthood,” Fountain says. “All of the sudden this happens – the baby is born and everything changes. But at the same time … it is anything but instant. Anything that has to do with parenting is anything but instant.”

“I think it’s important that women poets and women writers, that we write about the experience of parenthood and motherhood without feeling like it’s something that is light, or …  it’s not to be taken seriously as a subject matter for poetry,” Fountain continues. “That’s just old. … I believe it’s a really daring political act to write about our bodies and our experiences with children.”

Listen to Fountain read “Instant Winner:”

Here Fountain reads “Prayer (Impossible):”