Laurel Mills








  • Winner / Encircle Publications
    2012 Chapbook Contest

    Winner / Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets
    2013 Chapbook Contest

    Winner / Wisconsin Library Association
    2013 Outstanding Achievement Award

    “This collection of poems is brave and poignant. Written from the perspective of a mother whose daughter has the rare genetic condition 1p36 Deletion Syndrome, the poetic voice speaks to any nurturer, any parent, any caring soul. The reader is brought to the edge of metaphoric cliffs of chaos, love—and hope.”
    —Cynthia Brackett-Vincent, editor of Encircle Publications

More praise for Rumor of Hope

“I read Laurel Mills’ Rumor of Hope over a quiet, late lunch in a near-empty restaurant, and in between the ordering of the meal and the packing up of leftovers I went on a journey like none I’ve ever been on; I walked back out on the street two hours later and the world was entirely different because I was different. I wept freely in that corner booth, reading Rumor of Hope, and I laughed out loud once or twice, and I looked away and then looked back again, with more clarity. Which is what this book is all about — about finding the courage to look at, and daring to name the things which we know might cause us pain. In this courageous, riveting, and sometimes remarkably honest collection, Mills finds a language for the almost unsayable. Using language that is at once practical and tender, she takes us to the brink of her daughter’s illness, and again and again reminds us that there is always grace, even though it might not look like what we expected. I was humbled by this collection; what I thought I knew, in the far reaches of my heart, was just practice.”
—Lisa Starr, WFOP judge, former Poet Laureate of Rhode Island
“These poems do not sugar coat the realities of caring for a grown daughter with a rare genetic condition. They are filled with essential details about the loving relationship a mother and grown daughter share. This collection will draw any reader into the world of this exceptional family. You will not be able to put it down!"
—Connie Post, Poet Laureate Emerita of Livermore, California

“In this prize-winning chapbook of powerful poems, Laurel Mills takes us through forty-some years of her daughter Beth’s life, from frightening seizures to anger outbursts that earn her time in locked wards, from prolonged childhood to halting words, from tricycle riding to carrying her own baby doll back to her imaginary husband, group home living. Sometimes the sun forgets her, writes Mills, in these moving, sometimes humorous, sometimes terrifying, poems; but her love for her daughter is as clear as her unflinching account of Beth’s difficulties and slow progress. In Rumor of Hope, Mills celebrates Beth’s delight in life on its own terms.”
—Robin Chapman, UW-Madison Professor Emerita of Communicative Disorders and author of Abundance (Cider Press)and the eelgrass meadow (Tebot Bach)

“From Sometimes the Sun Forgets: We commit our children to this life,/to the stringing of day on day,/the building of years. If we were/to see the bare truth, would we ever/let those cells multiply/in the pelvic cradle of our bodies?  This collection rings so true, giving us a glimpse of the difficult, unique, and wonderful journey of a parent of an adult with developmental disabilities. I read it straight through and then sighed for Laurel, for her daughter Beth, and for her resemblance to adults I worked with for many years. Then I got online and ordered another copy for my friend who directs the program I worked with. These poignant, accessible, and unflinching poems will open your eyes and your heart, and indeed leave you with a rumor of hope, so that you answer Laurel's question with a yes.”
tabbyweave, review

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