Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sue Doro: Heart, Home & Hard Hats

I previously reviewed Sue Doro's Blue Collar Goodbyes.  Checking Amazon for more titles by her, I found Heart, Home and Hard Hats along with an arrogant and mean-spirited review written by one Robert P. Beveridge of Lakewood, Ohio.  The review reveals far more about the reviewer than about the book in question.  I won't go into it except to say that the reviewer called the poems "morally and ethically ill-informed."  If this guy is so threatened by this book, I want it.

As with Blue Collar Goodbyes, the poems in Heart, Home, & Hard Hats wouldn't fare well in a university MFA seminar.  But then, Sue Doro isn't writing for a university MFA audience.  Let's stop being snotty about poetry.  Sue Doro is a factory machinist who writes with feeling about her job, her coworkers, and her family.  After reading her poems, I'd like to sit her down and buy her a beer.  Does anyone feel that way about T.S. Eliot?

Granted, if I were editing her book, I would have tossed out half the poems - like, anything with the word "womyn" in it.  The remainders would stand up nicely in a shorter, tighter edition.  

Sue opens her heart.  That's the chance a poet takes at the risk of withering scorn from the likes of Mr. Beveridge.  Morally and ethically ill-informed, indeed - for loving her husband, loving her children, for supporting her coworkers, for toiling hard at a dirty job and thinking she deserves equal pay.

Here are a couple of short ones I like:

Where's My Hammer?

number 13's still screwed up
have to whap it with a hammer
every time I want the tool bar up or down
and my arm is killing me
hammering at a funny sideways angle
all the time
told the foreman the machine was broke
he says it'll get fixed
it's on the "list"
felt like tellin' him
I got a list too…
and HE'S on it

Paper Napkin Poem for Larry

i am writing on a paper napkin
missing you     it is after lunch
and i am waiting for a 1:30 class

i am a 37 year old school "girl"
waiting for a 1:30 afternoon
industrial math class
and missing you

for five hours this morning
i faced and turned a steel bar
to specified length
on an engine lathe
and only thought about you
in between cuts
which is right and proper
and especially safe
considering the machine parts
were spinning
at 620 revolutions per minute

so you can see
now that i'm waiting
for my 1:30 math class to start
i can spend time safely
thinking about you
loving you
and feeling good
about my life and ours
while writing
this paper napkin love poem

Heart, Home & Hard Hats was published in 1986 by Midwest Villages & Voices.  You can find it (and the vile review) here
on Amazon.

If you're interested in other tradespeople writing poetry, I've got some suggestions here.

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