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Poetry Xtras » "A Domestic Film" by Amy King

Poetry Xtras provide brief commentaries, cultural & literary sign posts, or anecdotes about poems featured on Poetry X, written by the poet or a critic expert in the poem.

In "A Domestic Film," I used words commonly associated with women: "feminine," "flower," "domestic," "cake," "wife," "Dishwater" in a way that seems to tell a story. Stories frequently appear seamless, but they omit details based on their lack of relevance. As we learn how to create traditional narratives, we also implicitly learn what kinds of details to leave out, possibly without ever questioning why or examining the implications of using them. Thus gaps in narratives become so naturalized that they are rarely noticed. Very often, those gaps are associated with women's work. A cake appears on a table, but we rarely get to see how the cake came to be. Flowers blossom, but the onlooker misses the hang wringing and back bending that nurtured them into existence. In "A Domestic Film," I created larger gaps where action should be taking place in order to call attention to the aforementioned gaps. I wanted to summon a mystery that makes the reader pause and ask, "What's missing here?" The answer relies on the reader's use of those gaps.
—Amy King

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