At the beginning of Proletarian Poetry, I didn’t have a clear idea of what themes might emerge; I didn’t want to focus on the usual perceptions of working class lives being all about hardship, discrimination, etc.. But I did want to take the tradition of good poetry, that is ‘to tell all the truth but tell it slant‘; to seek out poems that picked something you wouldn’t imagine, such as This Zinc Roof by Kei Miller, and show how it has an impact on peoples’ lives.
Kate Wise’s poem, Fairytale does just that. Takes an idea of the past but tells it through an unusual example; of a young woman, her great Aunt Alma, whose first job is as a Fairy on top of a Christmas Tree. Is this a fairytale? On first reading you might think so. However, this poem takes another theme of PP, that of strong minded grandparents. Here we have a grandmother, who like Angela France’s Nana’s Luck knows what it is right and what is wrong with the world, and says it in a matter-of-fact way, although also with wit, that has no concern for any consequence. (more…)