Come to our Washing Lines signing from lunchtime on!
Washing Lines is a wonderful anthology of poetry celebrating the presence of washing in our lives. Edited by two local washing aficionadas, Janie Hextall and Barbara McNaught, Washing Lines has garnered national repute. The anthology has been acclaimed in Tatler among others and warmly approved by critics such as Sebastian Shakespeare. Janie Hextall and Barbara McNaught will be signing copies of their self-published book, Washing Lines, from lunchtime on in Madhatter Bookshop, 122 High Street, Burford, on Sunday 4 December. Come and get a copy for a gift that will always be warmly remembered!
Janie and Barbara met six years ago at a Cotswold poetry reading group and quickly found that they had a love of washing drying in the breeze in common. The traded emails about the poems they found celebrating this passion. Over the course of time the idea of publishing an anthology took root. Washing Lines was launched at the Woodstock Literary Festival on September 17 and has simply gone from strength to strength every week since.
Janie says that she and Barbara take obsessive measures to indulge their passion of coming across washing lines on a daily basis. They each travel by train to get glimpses of washing lines in people’s back gardens. They each carry a camera so they can snap any interesting or picturesque washing line that comes into their view. They each have albums full of photos of washing of every kind blowing in the breeze. Barbara is also a collector of wood engravings, some of which she and Janie used to illustrate their book.
Washing Lines is truly a work of love and dedicated passion. It took Barbara and Janie three years to track down the copyright approvals for each of the fifty or so poems in the anthology. However, they have struck up friendships and a wealth of literary correspondence along the way. Washing Lines includes poems by Ruth Moose, Maura Dooley, Richard Wilbur, Gillian Clarke, Carl Little, Pablo Neruda and the Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney among many others.
Washing Lines sees washing lines as links to childhood, memory, love and loss. Above all, for many of the poets, washing on the line symbolises that heart and home are in good health, that love is at work in the household in a deeply practical, immediately physical and very visual way. Not surprisingly, washing on the line stirs intense reflection and emotion in men as well as women. Washing lines, the anthology makes us very aware, are not the domain of women alone.
Intriguingly, washing lines are not without their politics. It is not unusual for some people to dry their underwear inside pillow cases or sheets, for example, either to preserve their own sense of privacy or in respect of their neighbours’ modesty. In some parts of the US drying washing outdoors is prohibited by law. Washing Lines has joined the cause to promote the “right to dry” citing, in an afterword by Alexander Lee, founder of the Project Laundry List, that washing lines could save up to 10% of a country’s energy consumption.
So washing lines, it turns our, are emotionally satisfying, clean, green an powerfully poetic. Come along on Sunday 4 December for a book signing that will wring your heart and gladden your soul. We promise you will never look at washing line s as common-or-garden objects again. And, we hope the event will refresh, renew and reinvigorate your joy of poetry along with your everyday washing!