The CLSG is delighted to announce the upcoming publication of Bird-Bent Grass, a memoir by Kathleen Venema.
Bird-Bent Grass chronicles an extraordinary mother–daughter relationship that spans distance, time, and, eventually, debilitating illness. Personal, familial, and political narratives unfold through the more than two hundred letters that Geeske Venema-de Jong and her daughter Kathleen exchanged during the late 1980s, when Kathleen taught in Uganda after a devastating civil war. Two decades later, with Geeske increasingly beset by Alzheimer’s disease, Kathleen returned to the letters, where she rediscovered the evocative image of a tiny, bright meadow bird perched precariously on a blade of elephant grass. That image – of simultaneous tension, fragility, power, and resilience – sustained her over the years that she used the letters as memory prompts in a larger strategy to keep her intellectually gifted mother alive.
Further details and ordering information can be found at Wilfrid Laurier University Press.