An exploration of what we inherit or pass on, illuminating the gray area between ubiquitous human desires and overconsumption.
Ir egrave;ne Mathieu's third collection, milk tongue
, refers to the layer of milk that coats a baby's tongue, which often is a challenge to distinguish from thrush, the overgrowth of naturally occurring yeast. As poet and pediatrician, Mathieu explores how we diagnose and investigate where normal consumption and overconsumption meet. How do we learn what to desire? What happens when what we want is destructive to our world? How might we reconceive of (be)longing in a way that rejects overconsumption?
These poems suggest, "what if, more than place, it's about sound?" In milk tongue Mathieu uses haibun, long poems, and experimental forms to explore what we inherit or pass on - privilege, oppression, anxiety, "hypnagogic conjure," and a warming earth - and envisage how, through deep attention to the emotional vibrations under the surface of these phenomena, we might become "both human and an / animal worthy of this speck of dust."