The Birth & Death Of Girl

Zoë Etkin


ISBN  978-1-947980-23-5     74 pages        $15.00

What is the predominant feeling in Etkin’s The Birth and Death of Girl? So familiar I feel—along with her. Is it because I have a female form? Because I believe in mythos oriented around female (r)elations? (“We are a linked chain of matter and spirit.”) A spectrum of passions moans the cycle forward. Toward. Toward what? Birth. Whose birth? Hers. The fixation: hers. (“Women are closer to the earth—in myth, in history, and in gravity.”) A kind of light makes itself obvious when “birth, sex, and death, are the same violent orgasm.”


The face/s of (The Great) Mother. Spiritual modes necessarily include haunting. Such a sad, beautiful book. Robust with ranges of sensate correspondence mirror to mirror. A bar or a tea room full of varieties of female. So many women holding offspring (some their own some not their own). Holding—the point of the room. A tea hat with a shaved head under it. A tea hat atop of curls. Marguerite Duras, Bell Hooks, Colette—Marie Darrieussecq. Room full of every kind of woman—standing alone in the circle of women. Alone and also woven—bodily woven, physical-lineage woven, psychic impressions woven. “There is no language—my body beating against the membrane.” Each and every one (of us)—a doula. Portal or throughway The Mother’s matrix of secrets. Though the longing might be for it, it isn’t necessarily ease that gets us clear. “Black shell bodies shuffling my desires” until some form of matrilineal merger nears.

       j/j hastain

Zoë Etkin is the author of Cetacea Vaginae (forthcoming from Another New Calligraphy) and The Embodied Pregnancy Journal. She works as a doula and women's sexual health advocate, helping families navigate the spectrum of reproductive outcomes. Her writing can be found in Juked, Unlikely Stories, Broad Magazine, and others. To learn more about what Zoë offers, please visit: www.zoeetkin.com.