Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cleaning Up Poetry

How do today's poets view domesticity? Find the answer in Sweeping Beauty: Contemporary Women Poets Do Housework by Pamela Gemin.

Check out the NPR interview (which is what drew me to this book) and read a couple of the poems on the NPR Web site, including one of my favorites that asks the eternal question, "What's the use?"

Here's one of the poems from the book that was featured by The Writer's Almanac:

When Our Women Go Crazy

When our women go crazy, they're scared there won't be
enough meat in the house. They keep asking
but how will we eat? Who will cook? Will there be enough?
Mother to daughter, it's always the same
questions. The sisters and aunts recognize symptoms:
she thinks there's no food, same as Mommy
before they sent her away to that place,
and she thinks if she goes, the men will eat
whatever they find right out of the saucepans.
When our women are sane, they can tomatoes
and simmer big pots of soup for the freezer.
They are satisfied arranging spice tins
on cupboard shelves lined with clean paper.
They save all the leftovers under tight lids
and only throw them away when they're rotten.
Their refrigerators are always immaculate and full,
which is also the case when our women are crazy.

by Julia Kasdorf

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