Wolf Daughter by Amy Watkins

Wolf Daughter is a collection that is fiercely itself. These narrative poems tell the story of a wolf-mother traversing the challenges and wonders of raising her wolf-daughter in a human world. While personal and specific, the poems look hard at who we are collectively: a society that continually reinforces who belongs and who doesn’t, a society of humans who easily become hunters. This collection is a lesson on hostility even as it cuddles with you in bed and exudes the warmth of a doting mother. The wolf-girl navigates the usual phases of adolescence with confidence and flair despite frequent cultural reminders of her “otherness.” Through the mother-daughter relationship, Watkins teaches us to look past the exterior and reveals moments of deep honesty, life-affirming love, and true connectivity. This is a book that refuses to be othered as these poems bare their teeth and howl.

“Amy Watkins pries open the door on what it’s like, day-to-day, to mother an intelligent adolescent girl. What seems to be a clever metaphor at first, takes on a sinewy reality—the girl-woman (I mean young wolf) painting her claws, shopping for jeans, and navigating the world of school shooting practice and teen friendshipas these irresistible poems progress. Wolf Daughter is brimming with the moment, maybe the last moment, of a certain tender/fierce age, and the mother honors this elusive beauty ‘even when she tears my heart to pieces.'”
-Susan Lilley, author of Venus in Retrograde

“These poems ask, what does it mean to raise a daughter in a “country of hunters” where it’s unclear if ‘it’s better to look dangerous or endangered’? Watkins explores the complexities of parenting in 21st century America through poems that play with fantasy and reality in exciting and daring ways. Wolf Daughter captures the fears, anxieties, and joys of seeing a child come into her own in an uncertain world.”
-Stephen S. Mills, author of Not Everything Thrown Starts a Revolution