Ode to My Ironing Board

Ever wondered what to do with your ironing board when you’re too lazy to fold it up? Or even too lazy (or, as I like to say: “too busy”) to iron?

This month Carolina Woman published my poem Ode to My Ironing Board on their website. Unfortunately, through no fault of the page designer, the formatting looks a little wonky. It was intended to be a “shape poem,” and it didn’t translate well to html formatting. Just for reference, here is a link to Ode to My Ironing Board (in pdf), the way it was intended to appear.

This is one of those poems that, thanks to the modern ingenuity of word-processing and graphic design, takes its shape from the theme of the poem. A famous example, and certainly far superior to mine, is Swan and Shadow by John Hollander.

It’s a challenging form, as you must work very hard to make sure the shape of the poem doesn’t paint you into a corner. Start first with the text and then, only then, gently nudge it into a shape. It’s never a bad thing to whittle a poem down to its bare bones and an easy way to do this is to give yourself a restraint (like a shape) of some sort. If you can’t make the shape happen, no worries. Just turn it back into a traditional poem through regular stanzas. However it turns out, you have created something to be proud of.

Forms that might be easy to try and create through basic word-processing are things like circles, hearts, stars, trees, flowers, and for the more adventurous like Hollander, even cats and dogs. Whatever you do, as I always say, have fun!


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