Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review of "a woman peeling apples, with a small child" by Pattie McCarthy

"a woman peeling apples, with a small child" by Pattie McCarthy was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on February 13, 2014.  A link to the poem, including the poet's notes, may be found here:  http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23863?utm_source=PAD%3A+a+woman+peeling+apples+with+a+small+child+by+Pattie+McCarthy&utm_campaign=poemaday_021314&utm_medium=email.

Pattie McCarthy teaches at Temple University.  She is the author of four books of poems.  Additional biographical information may be found here:  http://www.apogeepress.com/authors_mccarthy.html.

This ekphrastic poem refers to and appears to be inspired by the domestic genre paintings of the relatively obscure Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (1632 - 1675), specifically by a Vermeer painting of the same title as the poem (pictured).  Extensive information about this contemporary of Rembrandt may be found here:  http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/verm/hd_verm.htm and here:  https://www.artsy.net/artist/johannes-vermeer.

The poem takes the form of a slice (or perhaps a peel) of domestic life.  There is definite rhythm to the first stanza, as though timed to the peeling of an apple.  The extra spaces inserted within the lines may represent the pauses between acts of peeling.

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