‘The Basket-Maker’ by Arthur J. Burdick

Commentary by Tark Mackintosh

Woman…cunning craft The narrator does little to disguise his chauvinist tone in this doggerel, verses about institutionalized women (basket cases get it) doing womanly things. Who was Arthur J. Burdick, and what happened to the genius progeny he doubtless spawned with his cunning burdick? Everyone knows that all men who published poetry between July 1908 and September 1913 in The Cleveland Guardian had only one thing on their mind.

Tell us Yes we are eager to hear all about basketmaking.

heaven-quaffed Clearly the poet does not know much about female anatomy. The vulgarity is surprising even for Cleveland.

thought Rhymes with wrought.

by spirits fired The image of the industrial factory continues. Are we still talking about baskets, or is it really locomotives you want to talk about, Arthur?

Secrets…willow…grasses Women, as all Modernists know, have many secrets, such as where to find the best materials for making baskets.

Photo by Andrea Scully on Unsplash