Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!

Coming up: Poetry and Clothes

OPPC_KeyArt_Nov10Unless we inhabit a nudist colony, clothes are an important part of our lives. From haute couture to old and comfortable, our clothing selections suit our moods, hide our flaws, show deference and become our armor. What we pull off the hanger in the morning can make us unforgettable in a business meeting and mysterious later, on a blind date.

Poems may have fun with a whole look like Robert Herrick’s “Delight in Disorder”:

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness;
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribands to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoe­string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.

Or certain items of clothing like Jenny Joseph’s poem “Warning” which begins:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

In this refrain from “On Hearing That My Poems Were Being Studied in a Distant Place,” the poet Hyam Plutzik uses clothes to consider the nature of words:

What are they mumbling about me there?
“Here,” they say, “he suffered; here was glad.”
Are words clothes or the putting off of clothes?

What have you got to say about Poetry and Clothes?

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

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