Poisonous If Eaten Raw


In this experimental long poem sequence, Alyda Faber transforms the portrait poem into runic shapes, ice shelved, sculpted, louvered on a winter shoreline. Twenty years after her mother’s death, Faber untethers herself from the mother she thinks she knows with wild analogies: depicting her mother variously as King Lear’s Kent, a Camperdown elm, a black-capped chickadee, Neil Peart, Pope Innocent X, and a funnel spider.

While embodying the passionate relationship between mother and daughter, Faber’s poems also expose the thorn in the flesh — the inability of mother and daughter to give each other what they most want to give. Endlessly discovered, yet ultimately unknowable, the poet’s mother is complex, mystifying, and unwavering: courageous in her decision to leave all that she knew behind; bewildering in her fidelity to a damaging marriage; steadfast in her devotion to a God who is at once adamant and the source of ephemeral beauty.


Alyda Faber

Alyda Faber is the author of Dust or Fire, Berlinale Erotik, and Poisonous If Eaten Raw. Her poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Riddle Fence, the Malahat Review, Contemporary Verse 2, and the Fiddlehead. She teaches at the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax.
Chapter Title Contents Contributors Pages Year Price


1 – Portrait of My Mother as a Funnel Spider – Portrait of My Mother as a Loon on Cranberry Lake – Portrait of My Mother as Saint Felicitas – Portrait of My Mother as Alex … 21 $2.10


2 – Portrait of My Mother as a Pine Tree – Woody Nightshade – Vintage 1950s Feather Chignon Headband – Portrait of My Mother as Dead-Lift Weight – Portrait of My … 22 $2.20


3 – Galleon – In Her Kitchen – Portrait of My Mother with Wolf – Morning and Evening – A Rough Measure – Mimes – On Brier Island – Portrait of My … 21 $2.10


4 – Distance – A Town, Medieval, Built by the Mother: Summer – Portrait of My Mother’s Prayers – House Wren – Portrait of My Mother as a Patch of Daisies … 15 $1.50


5 – Her Hidden Life: Prayer – Portrait of My Mother as the Duke of Kent – Portrait of My Mother as the Palazzo Massimo Boxer at Rest – Portrait of My Mother Picking … 15 $1.50