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The Lost Art of Ironing

Kelly Davis



The Lost Art of Ironing is a poetic exploration of women’s lives in which ironing can mean ‘smoothing out life’s creases’ as well as crumpled clothes. In her poems, Kelly Davis shows us women as lovers, wives, mothers, muses, editors and curators of their own lives.

Kelly writes, with warmth and honesty, about her family life, and the small West Cumbrian town where she lives. Then she widens her focus, and gives us imaginative meditations on other writers, including playful new perspectives on famous poems by Eliot and Keats. She considers being Emily Dickinson’s best friend and recalls the intoxicating experience of reading Anne Sexton’s poetry for the first time. She shows us George Sand and her lover Frédéric Chopin on an ill-fated holiday and listens in to the thoughts of Lisa Gherardini (better known as the ‘Mona Lisa’).

The collection ends with five modern versions of Shakespeare’s best-loved sonnets, looking at time, love and mortality in the digital age, where anyone can create the illusion of eternal youth. These poems sparkle with wit and wisdom and shed new light on the way women’s lives have changed – and not changed.

My mother-in-law lived through the war
and ironed everything – dishcloths, towels, underpants,
every bit of fabric in the house.

She couldn’t talk about her feelings
but she ironed beautifully. Her children knew she loved them
because their sheets were always smooth as glass.



Hedgehog Poetry Press





Available on back-order

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