Home > Mutating the Signature > Poems in response to Anne Sexton

Poems in response to Anne Sexton

April 18, 2009

The Eskimo Word for Woman is Abnaq

Too many people think they know
what is and what is not a woman.

Lonely thing
walking with a blanket round her head.

My grandmother fixed the suppers
—no one helped her clean.
Jesus fixed the suppers while the women
washed the dishes.

Pummeled by flakes, she is not a woman
but another word for snow.
At night, dreaming, she is a cat
with no kittens, teats full and glossy.

If you still bite after all these years,
consider yourself happily married.

I sweat sometimes at night, dreaming of a new body
to wrap my skin around.

Do you still bite your lip
when you think about me ?

by Jill Crammond Wickham

Download the MP3

***

rearranging the disaligned
homage to Anne Sexton’s “her kind”

i dream of a new body as i wash
the dishes. they squeak, “consider yourself
happily married” (another word
for snow). pummeled by flakes, this
lonely thing we call a house is a cat
with no kittens, teats full and glossy.
she still bites after all these years.
my grandmothers fixed supper with jesus
at their sides, and no one helped them
clean up, either. people think they know
what i wrap my skin around,
why i sweat. sometimes at night,
i walk with a blanket over my head
pretending i am not a woman, thinking
about myself making messes of what is
and what is not, wondering,
will i ever stop?

by Carolee D. Sherwood

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Process notes

In response to first listening to a recording of, then reading Anne Sexton’s “Her Kind” [link includes recording], Jill chose five words/phrases to play with: at night; dreaming; lonely thing; not a woman; fixed the suppers; still bite. Next, we each wrote five lines on our own using the phrases. Then we each set out on the task of weaving the lines into a single poem.

Here are the raw lines that became the two poems above.

Jill’s:

  • At night, dreaming, she is a cat with no kittens, teats full and glossy.
  • Lonely thing, that woman, walking with a blanket round her head.
  • Pummeled by flakes, she is not a woman but another word for snow.
  • Jesus fixed the suppers while the women washed the dishes.
  • If you still bite after all these years, consider yourself happily married.

Carolee’s:

  • I sweat sometimes at night, dreaming of a new body to wrap my skin around.
  • will we ever stop making messes in this lonely thing we call a house?
  • too many people think they know what is and what is not a woman.
  • my grandmothers fixed the suppers and no one helped them clean up.
  • do you still bite your lip when you think about me?
  1. April 19, 2009 at 4:43 am

    Wonderful poems, Carolee and Jilly. Love them!

  2. April 20, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Fabulous, sorry I missed this till now. Love the readings, you sound nothing like I imagined but wonderful……..you really worked up a great response between you.

  3. April 20, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    These poems are a real treat. I love your readings, and the shades of meaning each poem illustrates. Clever, amusing, and tender. Well done!

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