[Item #19704] "Trash?" [Anonymous manuscript poem of 149 lines (5pp) in the voice of a Depression-era refugee]. RADICAL, PROLETARIAN LITERATURE.

"Trash?" [Anonymous manuscript poem of 149 lines (5pp) in the voice of a Depression-era refugee]

N.p. N.d. Original typescript, 5pp on ruled bond. Typed rectos-only. Light soil; single horizontal fold; Very Good.

A highly accomplished and moving long poem written in the voice of an unemployed mill-town woman during the Great Depression. Unattributed and undated, but apparently (based on paper and degree of wear) contemporary with the events described.

Whether actually written by an unemployed mill-worker's wife or by a "trained" writer adopting that voice for proletarian effect, the poem is remarkable for its unpretentious style and its graphic, realistic depiction of the tribulations of unemployed workers during the Great Depression. From its opening line: "All I've ever done in this / Damned life of mine is cry" the poem recounts a series of bleak episodes in a poor southern woman's life: "My man was workin' full - / But now the mill's down, / We're all down. / But we still gotta eat, / We still got babies to feed ... Them big guys up there, / They got their bellys full, / They got plenty of coal. / Their kids don't have to / Walk tracks lookin' for coal..." The author goes on to relate her battles with the "government man" and the WPA, but ends the work on a hopeful note: "I'm just so glad that / They give free books at schools, / Cause now my boys and girls / Can finish high school, And then they'll always have jobs ... Too much around me that don't look nice, So I'm gonna keep thinking somepin' that is nice."

The poem is unknown to us in any published version, though the setting and theme are by no means unique for the period.

Price: $150.00

Go Back