Sweeping Beauty: Contemporary Women Poets Do Housework

Overview

Thankless, mundane, and “never done,” housework continues to be seen as women's work, and contemporary women poets are still writing the domestic experience sometimes resenting its futility and lack of social rewards, sometimes celebrating its sensory delights and immediate gratification, sometimes cherishing the undeniable link it provides to their mothers and grandmothers. In Sweeping Beauty, a number of these poets illustrate how housekeeping's repetitive motions can free the imagination and release the ...

See more details below
Paperback (1)
$20.76
BN.com price
(Save 16%)$24.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (23) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $5.35   
  • Used (16) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

Thankless, mundane, and “never done,” housework continues to be seen as women's work, and contemporary women poets are still writing the domestic experience sometimes resenting its futility and lack of social rewards, sometimes celebrating its sensory delights and immediate gratification, sometimes cherishing the undeniable link it provides to their mothers and grandmothers. In Sweeping Beauty, a number of these poets illustrate how housekeeping's repetitive motions can free the imagination and release the housekeeper's muse. For many, housekeeping provides the key to a state of mind approaching meditation, a state of mind also conducive to making poems. The more than eighty contributors to Sweeping Beauty embrace this state and confirm that women are pioneers and inventors as well as life-givers and nurturers. “My fingers are forks, my tongue is a rose . . . / I turn silver spoons into rabbit stew / make quinces my thorny upholstery . . . / how else could the side of beef walk / with the sea urchin roe?” sings the cook in Natasha Sajé's ode to kitchen alchemy. “I love the notion that we can take our most poisonous angers, our most despairing or humiliated or stalemated moments, and make something good of them—something tensile and enduring,” says Leslie Ullman. Whether we are fully present in our tasks or “gone in the motion” of performing them, whether our stovetops are home to “stewpots of discontent” or grandmother's favorite jam, something is always cooking.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Gemin's book embraces women's 'domesticity,' owns it, and stresses its transformative power. Sweeping Beauty explores the role of women in the home place, how they've found both confinement and comfort there, how they've learned from and departed from the lives of their female ancestors who have swept so many floors, baked so much bread, and hung so much wash on the line. The book celebrates 'women's work' and highlights its connection to myths and fables of cultures throughout the world.”—Mary Swander, author of The Desert Pilgrim: En Route to Mysticism and Miracles

“The poems in Sweeping Beauty are like prequels to an archaeological dig—real voices recording the nature of our lives before the crockery is buried in lava, before the house is tumbled by quake or quiet centuries. The poets in this collection often mix themes of writing with their images of house-work, acknowledging poetry's recognition of our most basic needs and our efforts to resist them, our longing for order and chaos both, our endless fascination with how our lives can be stirred, swept, polished, and then undone all over again. What a treasure—to find these poems which take as their source our daily lives, and discover there profound insight, energy, transformation.”—Betsy Sholl

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877459682
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 212
  • Sales rank: 1,536,694
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Pamela Gemin is an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Her poetry collection Vendettas, Charms, and Prayers was a Minnesota Voices Project winner from New Rivers Press. She is editor and co-editor, respectively, of the poetry anthologies Are You Experienced? (Iowa 2003) and Boomer Girls (Iowa 1999).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

"The female seer will burn upon this pyre" 1
How I learned to sweep 2
Down on my knees 4
The hurricane sisters work regardless 5
Romantic 6
Kitchens : 1959 7
Poetry despises your attempts at domesticity 9
In waking words 10
The prodigal daughter 11
Modern love 14
Pittsburgh poem 15
Dictionary for the new century 16
What they did by lamplight 18
Sewing 19
Cooking catalogue 20
Desert flowers 21
Part of a larger country 23
Five-year plan 25
The floral apron 27
A man in my bed like cracker crumbs 28
Quilting 29
Mother, a young wife learns to sew 30
New house 31
Grating parmesan 32
Broom 34
The size of a bed sheet 37
The ugly step sister 38
Good woman 40
Sweeping heaven 42
Peonies 43
After the miscarriage 46
Sweet hour 47
Upper peninsula landscape with aunts 49
Perhaps the world ends here 52
Feeding frenzy 53
Thursday afternoon : life is sweet 55
Cayenne 56
Domestic humiliation 58
Kitchen 59
Plenty 60
What I learned from my mother 62
When our women go crazy 63
Dinner 64
Housekeeping in a dream 66
The visibility of spirits 68
Moving furniture 70
How my mother-in-law instructed me in slaughter 72
Maid 73
Ham and the moon 74
Giving the house away 76
Brick 77
Covered dish 79
Clothesline 80
Spots 82
The idea of housework 83
Reetika arranges my closet 84
May mowing clover 86
Vegetable love 89
God scrubs the tub 91
God vacuums the pool 91
God packs lunches 91
Lemons 92
What lies beneath 94
Home remedy 95
Third stair, seventh stair, landing 96
Some women marry houses 98
Convolvulus tricolor 100
The days of my mother 103
At thirty 104
Bread 106
The shekhinah as mute 107
Grief comes in smallest ways 108
Sunday baking 110
The soup 111
Cooking lesson 112
All the soups 113
Song of the cook 114
What I want to make for you 115
Duties and vocations 116
Wintering 117
Furious cooking 118
In the kitchen dancing to Kitty Wells 120
One quick quiz 121
Purpose 123
Entropy 125
The sinking 127
Immaculate lives 128
A poet in the house 130
The sky-blue dress 131
Plum crazy 134
Household muse 137
Housekeeping 138
Coming home 140
Hospital corners 141
Western holly stove 143
Date nut bread 145
Day's end 146
The dinner guest 147
Domestic work, 1937 149
Housekeeping 150
The history of women 151
Canning cellar, early sixties 153
Back to catfish 154
The lady on the cover of Family circle 156
Starting from scratch 158
Quilt 159
Prayer 161
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)