I have introduced a number of Anna Swir's poems to my classes. Today I used A Woman Writer Does Laundry from Talking to My Body to trigger and discuss writing. I had planned to use it in another class, but I'll stop here. I think there's a translation problem. Read it and ask yourself if you know or have known of any woman who would use the word relaxation after doing laundry, especially in the old style. Perhaps the male translators forgot the question mark after Relaxation? And why interrogation marks chosen instead of question marks ? Politics? On second thought, I'll use it in Friday's class too. Some good work and discussion resulted, and I'd like to know what others think, especially of the translation. Is the poet being sarcastic? Or is she genuinely relaxed after doing her laundry? But, of course, this is not the point of the poem, is it?
A Woman Writer Does Laundry
Today I am doing laundry
in the old style.
I wash, I wash, rinse, wring
as did my grandmothers and great-grandmothers.
Doing laundry is healthful and useful
like a washed shirt. Writing
Like three interrogation marks
typed on a page.
Translated by Czeslaw Milosz & Leonard Nathan
Copper Canyon Press, 1996