the universe digests her stars, by Ariel Friedman-Print Books-Bottlecap Press

the universe digests her stars, by Ariel Friedman

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Ariel Friedman
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Poetry, chapbook, 56 pages, from Bottlecap Features.

“This chapbook offers an intimate look into the cosmos of family and motherhood. It moves symphonically across generations, charting how we are shaped by the losses, calamities, and tender daily realities of past and future generations. Many poems exist in the space between mother and child: the mother tries to narrativize the world for the child or enters transformative windows of play, where the world is remade because of the child’s perspective and presence. A spoon becomes a satellite, a truck becomes a god, a hand becomes a rotating planet, reality becomes a dream. 

The space within the body, the womb, also becomes a living cavern, a deeply internal site to contrast expansive cosmological spaces. If a family is a universe expanding (as in ‘the latest science says’), the space inside the mother is also a complex, living system, as in the poem ‘Inside’, which views pregnancy through the framework of Jonah and the whale. Other stories and myths are used either as entry points for the child’s developmental understanding or as frameworks for the mother. The mother’s private world is present too, through poems that chronicle her life through music, poetry, family memories, nighttime prayers. Many of these poems examine the mother’s selfhood, building through pregnancy, the situation in which her selfhood shifts. Mother and child become celestial bodies for one another, orbiting each other, providing warmth and light, even if the world starts to place distance between them in ways both unknowable and inevitable. ‘little orbits that    over time     distort ever so slightly.   / until the distance from our suns / is so great we form our own’”
—Sara Daniele Rivera, author of The Blue Mimes

Ariel Friedman is a multi-genre cellist, composer, and poet. Her poetry has appeared in Pangyrus, december, Literary Mama, Bodega, and Lucky Jefferson, among others. She is a winner of the 2023 Boston Mayor’s Poetry Program and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets. She performs and tours with award-winning sister chamber-folk duo, Ari & Mia, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project; was a winner of the 2020 Women Composers Festival of Hartford's call for scores; and a recipient of New England Conservatory's 2018 Alumni Award. She lives in Boston with her husband and two children. Visit her at