Friday, April 18, 2008
A Woman Writer Does Laundry
The aspect of this poem that I found the most interesting was Swir's juxtaposition of old and new ways. Swir exhibits her exasperation with writing and desires a shift back to the old ways of doing laundry, just like her grandmother and mother before her. I found this interesting because it gives a great value to this mundane task as both relaxing and useful. Whereas I feel most female poets would tend to bash traditional female tasks such as doing laundry, Swir seems to embrace it as a much-needed diversion. She uses lots of commas and some alliteration to develop a rhythm in line 4, as she states, "I wash, I wash, I rinse, I wring." The other thing that I love about this poem is that she questions the very nature of her work, calling writing "suspect"and likening it to "three interrogation marks" on a page. I think that it is neat that Swir realizes the ultimate lack of practical importance of her writing. This poem seems to be ultimately saying, in my opinion, that although women's roles have improved and expanded, there is still something very useful, both mental and physical, in the old traditions of simple things such as laundry.