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Anna, Washing: Poems

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Set against the bleak backdrop of the Yukon and the historical moment of the 1897 Klondike gold rush, this chronologically arranged series of sonnets is grounded in the lived experience of Finnish immigrants Anna and Abe Malm. Anna hauls her Anthony Wayne Washer into the wilderness and sets up a laundry business while Abe seeks his fortune. Anna and Abe share a unique history, revealed in the book's epigraph: Anna, nineteen years her husband's senior, had first raised him and ...
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Overview


Set against the bleak backdrop of the Yukon and the historical moment of the 1897 Klondike gold rush, this chronologically arranged series of sonnets is grounded in the lived experience of Finnish immigrants Anna and Abe Malm. Anna hauls her Anthony Wayne Washer into the wilderness and sets up a laundry business while Abe seeks his fortune. Anna and Abe share a unique history, revealed in the book's epigraph: Anna, nineteen years her husband's senior, had first raised him and then married him.

Genoways's graceful formalism makes percussive music of a story marked by isolation and brutal difficulty. He manages a deft and plain-speaking rhyme that is in keeping with the tough lives his poems explore. The poems, which shift in frame from Anna's letters or Abe's diary to third-person verse that captures the characters' inner thoughts, bring the vitality of luminous detail and psychological depth to the arc of history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In Mr. Genoways's hands the sonnet is pleasingly elastic. . . . Formally astute and emotionally resonant, Anna, Washing is a fine example of the historical narrative in lyric form."--Linda Bierds, author of First Hand

"While in conversation with excellent books that have come before it—Rita Dove's Thomas and Beulah, Ellen Voigt's Kyrie, and A. Van Jordan's Macnolia, for example—its framework, balance of thematic material, its scaffolding of form and elegantly shifting perspectives make it wholly original. Quite simply, a beautiful book.”--Natasha Trethewey, author of Native Guard

"Genoways has evoked history very well in this work. . . . The language here is spare, but it needn't be anything else. Throughout this book, Genoways is consistently able to convey large ideas and a range of feelings with an absolute minimum of words. It's a talent very few writers possess. . . . Honing this story down to its essentials without losing its essence could not have been easy, even if the author makes it look so."--David A. James, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Genoways has evoked history very well in this work.... The language here is spare, but it needn't be anything else. Throughout this book, Genoways is consistently able to convey large ideas and a range of feelings with an absolute minimum of words. It's a talent very few writers possess.... Honing this story down to its essentials without losing its essence could not have been easy, even if the author makes it look so.
—David A. James
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820332062
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2008
  • Series: The VQR Poetry Series
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Ted Genoways is the editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review. His first book, Bullroarer, won the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize, the Natalie Ornish Poetry Award, and the Nebraska Book Award.
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Table of Contents

Prologue: The Letter 3

Aboard the S.S. Islander 7

Anna on the Beach 8

Sheep Camp 9

The Anthony Wayne Washing Machine 10

A Letter from the Yukon 11

Abe on Arrival 12

A Letter from Eagle, Alaska 13

Anna on the Beach 14

Abe at the Ironing Board 15

A Letter from Eagle, Alaska 16

Abe, Drift Mining on American Creek 17

Anna over the Mangle 18

The Smallpox Diary 21

Soap Making 31

Anna at the Ironing Board 32

Interlude: Wash-Day Song 35

Anna at the Equinox 39

Letters from Eagle, Alaska 40

Instructions for Winter 49

Anna in the Moonlight 50

Anna at the Washboard 53

A Letter from Eagle, Alaska 54

Marie on Arrival 55

Dialogue 56

Decoration Day 57

Low Water Table 58

Monologue 59

Anna in the Examining Room 60

Lullaby 61

Anna's Oath 62

Anna at Rest 63

Eagle City Cemetery 64

Epilogue: Abe's Caution to Anna 67

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