Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wearing Literature/ Poetry and Apparel

(Image from SVA Magazine)

Lately I want to wear my poetry. To dress myself in my words, to be a walking statement of something other than black and white, my cut off shorts, or the mustard velvet dress I just purchased. I want to be looked at for my verse, recognized for art. Not to say dressing isn't an art, it is in many cases, but that does not stop me from wanting to drape myself in my creations.

I feel more connected to my work than the fabric that lays heavy on my skin. The heat has not allowed me to switch over to my fall wardrobe and I'm foolishly tired of wearing flip flops and shorts (I know, woe is me). I also want to be recognized for more than the expression that comes through in my clothing. I'm sure a good part of this has to do with feeling lonely in this new town. I miss the comfort of being surrounded by other writers and being able to discuss literature face to face, coffee cup to coffee cup. I haven't been as proactive as I should be in finding a writing community in Tyler.

With a lot of free time on my hands, and the tendency to reorganize my closet a lot, I have started to think about my clothes as my memories-- in the way the poetry I write serves as a memory retrieval. In this light, I was curious to consider the ways literature and fashion go together. This idea is not a new one, I found as I internet perused.

How Dressing and Verse Come Together
Amy is a friend of mine from graduate school. Her interest in fashion and literature are much more developed than my own. I am always amazed to see what she is wearing and writing. She is also part of what inspired this blog entry. offers a whole listing of poems and fashion (Kim A's "What do Women Want" included). I'm a huge fan of Honor Moore's "Red Shoes."
I love the idea of "book bags" as the style reminds me of my high school days when tin purses were popular. (My best friend, Kristin had a Reese Peanut Butter Cup tin purse.)
Literary tattoos? Yes!
Andy Warhol's "Shoes" read like little poems. My Aunt MJ gave this book to me as a gift when I was a teenager and I treasure it.

Paper Darts, an online and print magazine has a fashion component:

Model and writer: "She can read. She's bad." Love the tagline!

I've included a poem I wrote (still in its rough stages) in reflection of clothing as identity and working in a beauty salon. As I commonly find myself working in customer service, I also find myself comparing my work identity with my writer's identity.

What Happened to the Orange

These heels complete this outfit,
tight purple dress with black leggings—
and this eye shadow, this eye shadow
is perfect: purple on the lids, gold on the brow.
Catch a glimpse in the mirror, and I find myself in:
I play the role,
I am a receptionist, I check people
in, I make appointments, I call the upper class
to tell them about their upcoming color and cut.
When nothing is going on, I stare out
the door, into the square, where a police sheriff
leads a prisoner in stripes,
and they both get into his truck,
my boss tells me they drive them to the jail that way,
and I watch as they make a left onto the brick road,
say, “I thought jail uniforms weren’t made like that anymore
I thought they were only orange."

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I like where you're going with the poem! There was this art gallery in Moscow, Idaho I used to go to, and they sold these book purses made by a local girl...I can't find them, but if you type in 'recycled book purse' or 'altered book purse' at, there are SO MANY.