questions i asked my mother

questions I asked my mother by Di Brandt


questions i asked my mother

Di Brandt’s first book of poetry, now in a beautiful new edition, is a deep, cutting exploration of patriarchy within the Mennonite tradition.


Winner of the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award (League of Canadian Poets).
Nominated for the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry and the Dillons Commonwealth Poetry Prize.

questions i asked my mother is a seminal work of both Canadian and Mennonite literature. Originally published in 1987, the collection embodies a bold vision of the feminine that confronts centuries of patriarchal culture. Powerful and lyrical, Brandt’s poems bridge the impossible contradictions between traditionalism and the postmodern in extraordinary gestures of creative defiance and tenderness.

In this new edition, poet and scholar Tanis MacDonald reflects in a critical essay on the far-reaching impact and continuing relevance of Di Brandt’s groundbreaking collection.


Winner of the 1987 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award

Short-listed for the 1987Governor General's Award for Poetry

Short-listed for the 1987 Dillons Commonwealth Poetry Prize

Advanced Praise

God breathed into Adam's nostril's the 'breath of life.' Read these poems and you will hear a Mennonite Eve stealing some breath for herself... you can feel the warmth of the poet's breath, sometimes gasping, sometimes singing, always affirming life itself. Read these poems. They will take your breath away.

Magdalene Redekop

Two words about this book: buy it...There are surrealistic and visionary moments in these poems. Predominantly, however, they are down-to-earth, rooted in a woman's body and a prairie landscape.

John Oughton, Books in Canada

In this unusual and important first book, Di Brandt works with considerable poetic verve (and nerve) at the very heart of the spiritual-sexual nexis.

Daphne Marlatt

She writes with a knife pulled out of a woman's heart.

George Bowering


The book begins with early memories of raging against a system of belief and custom that was supposed to be unquestionable. The poems are written in an unassuming lower case, in punctuationless, out of breath tirades, the run-on flow of someone flooded with words. Taboo words, the necessity to speak the unspeakable, to shout the unthinkable

Poetry Canada Chronicle

questions i asked my mother is an important first book... Brandt deserves a wide audience.

Prairie Fire

[Secrets] spill onto the page in an irresistible torrent of detail, leading to an ever expanding inner world of associations. Brandt's writing is a flowing stream of consciousness, drawing its power from the effects of accumulation and resonance.

Journal of Canadian Poetry

This is finely crafted rage.

Border Crossings

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