Cover of Vermeer Paints My Mother, featuring Vermeer's painting "The Woman with the Balance"

Fenway Press, 2022

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“The premise of Jay Featherstone’s inventive and intimate sequence, as embodied in the title, Vermeer Paints My Mother, is to turn the traditional ekphrastic form into a fresh engagement with art, time, and personal history. The sequence sections pose intriguing encounters by using images of Vermeer’s paintings and imagined conversations with the artist as associative devices to explore the emotional depths of the narrator’s memory of — and tribute to — his mother and their shared history:

…The sturdy arms
of the woman pour the morning’s milk.
She is intent, yet lost in thought,
eyes half open–
bread, milk, bowl, table, coffee
artifacts of each day’s beginning.
My mother never missed a breakfast.

Original and often piercingly beautiful, this work engages what’s lost but still remembered by building a vivid personal world parallel to the world in Vermeer’s work and bringing both to life. Remarkable and brilliant work.”

–Joan Houlihan