|HOUSEKEEPING AND POETRY
COME TOGETHER AT HOME
Phyllis Hoges new book celebrates the difficult art of housekeeping.
The poems in Hello, House, Phyllis Hoges new collection, center on the thoughts of a person working alone. Because the poet loves her house as she might love a genial forgiving friend, she can love and celebrate her housework. Even when a particular chore, such as dishwashing or putting up curtain rods, may involve one or two helpers, the real relationship in these poems is between a house and its resident person.
Hoge describes in small, significant detail what goes into daily chores, like making beds, doing laundry, ironing, cooking, cleaning, straightening. She also deals with crises and major upkeep, from insects to taxes. The maintenance, routine or occasional, of living in a house also carries on outdoors with gardening, beekeeping, feeding the birds, and painting the house.
She lavishes attention on favorite things: artichokes, wooden floors, oriental rugs, walnut sofa and chairs, and the monograms her mother stitched on towels. But in dealing with the physical aspects of daily life, she also examines her self, and learns that living in a house involves compromise: with pets, with clutter, with imperfection, with the realization that things get lost and that all creation is dust. The poems observe the many occasions when a domestic encounter may give rise to feelings of quiet thoughtfulness or annoyance or pleasure, feelings which may be both strong and private.
At the end, and at the beginning, of each day, Phyllis Hoge finds herself at home. As a poet, she works at home. And in this book her home inspires her work.
Hello, House is charmingly illustrated by novelist Maxine Hong Kingston, who has found and drawn a detail for each poem in the book. Ms. Kingstons first book was The Woman Warrior, and her latest book is the poetic memoir, I Love A Broad Margin To My Life. Some of her drawings are on display at the Cowra Gallery in Australia.
Phyllis Hoge has published five poetry collections and a memoirThe Painted Clock. Her poems and articles have appeared in many periodicals and anthologies, among them Hudson Review, Prairie Schooner, and The New Yorker. After teaching literature and writing courses at the University of Hawaii for twenty years, she retired to Albuquerque, where she now lives with one cat. For further information please see the enclosed biographical statement.
by Phyllis Hoge
Illustrations by Maxine Hong Kingston
80 pages, paperback, $14.00
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