Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ironing and Other Poetic Experiences

I had to iron twice in the last week, in preparation for dressing in Easter finery and portrait taking. Ironing usually ranks right up there with dusting as a detested chore for me, but lately I've been finding it quite soothing. After the kids are in bed, I set up the board in front of the TV, spray a little starch, smooth out the wrinkles, and enjoy the the closest thing I'm going to get to a facial for some time. I'm not saying I want my husband to stop sending his shirts out to be laundered, but I may start actually pressing off some of my nicer t-shirts rather than ramming them into my overcrowded drawers just so I can get the laundry put away.
I started thinking about Tillie Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing" which I intially remembered as a poem, rather than short story, which means I'm overdue to go back to read it. I don't think I've read it since I became a mother to a daughter, and the fact that I'm feeling inspired by ironing seems to be sending me back there. Also, it's National Poetry Month and I've yet to share a poem, so here are a couple of links to actual poems about ironing.

Ironing by Vicki Feaver

Ironing After Midnight by Marsha Truman Cooper

Speaking of poetry, one of my favorite books, a novel written in what amounts to chapters of verse, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. I loved teaching The House on Mango Street, for its lovely language and the way it evokes both the sweetness and scariness of growing up through the voice of its protagonist, Esperanza. I had some of my best moments of getting students to actually pay attention to the craft of writing with that book, and saw students write some beautiful pieces in response to this book. I enjoyed listening to Sandra Cisneros discussing the book on NPR last week, and hearing her read about the house with windows like they are holding their breath.

I always seem to be in the car to listen to Marketplace, thus I'm more informed than you'd think on matters of economics. I'm superimpressed by their observance of Poetry Month, proving poetry is not only found just about everywhere, it's amazingly appropriate for just about any subject. Love that they keep referring to Philip Levine's poem "What Work Is" in their promos. You can check out what they're up to here.

Now go read some poetry on your own.

1 comment:

mep said...

As ever, I am thankful for Small World for reminding me that I need more poetry in my life. This post reminded me of the Penelope poems by Dorothy Parker and Edna St. Vincent Millay. I just looked them up because I thought one of them involved ironing (I was wrong, it was mending). Amazing how much more they speak to me now than when I was a young, single ninth grade English teacher.

I enjoyed the ironing poems, but these days, I just don't iron. Not for me. Not for hubby. Not at all.