Phoebe Snow of “Poetry Man” song fame died today at the age of 58 – but oh, ‘Poetry Man’ is not what defined her. She was the mother to a daughter who suffered afixiation at birth, and lived with her until her death.
She was briefly married to Phil Kearns, and, in December 1975, gave birth to a severely brain-injured daughter, Valerie. Snow resolved not to institutionalize her but instead care for her at home, which she did until Valerie died on March 18, 2007 at the age of 31. Snow’s efforts to care for Valerie greatly and negatively affected her professional career, nearly ending it; it also adversely affected her personal life.
She talks about how hard it was to sing after her daughter died. Her friend Linda Ronstadt told her that she had to sing about Valerie. In Phoebe’s performances, she dedicated a song she originally wrote for her mother, for her daughter.
The lyrics, “Everything good I am you taught me. Everything good I am” illustrate her devotion to her daughter and her music is a testimony to the extraordinary woman she was. May her music and legacy live on. A donation has been made to the Motherhood Museum in honor of Phoebe Snow and her astounding courage as a woman and a mother, by Joy Rose…..