hardware store literature / poetry
Recent additions on this page include
R. J. Rice,
R. T. Smith,
6 October 2012
I like the man-smell of a hardware store :
odors of old leather,
fresh-cut lumber, oiled machines,
limey smell of plaster and new paint.
This poem hangs on a back wall at the Moody’s Hardware Store on South Decatur Street, Montgomery, Alabama. The author is a woman, for whom the
old familiar smellsbring the memory of someone back powerfully.
The poem commences a paean to Moody’s, by Kate and Stephen, in the Midtown Mongomery Living blog, posted 21 May 2010. The whole can be found here (as of 21 December 2010); it appears that Moody’s is (or will soon be) no more.
- Edward Anthony.
(illustrated by R. M. Brinkerhoff, in Harper’s Magazine, May 1921).
Luella Loranna O’Shaughnessy Firth
Is a clerk in a hardware store,
Where she sells pots and dishes and bowls for goldfishes,
And dozens of articles more,
Like mouse traps and razors and skillets and bolts,
Shovels and wrenches and forks,
Harrows and hillers, potato-bug killers,
Pump handles and beer-bottle corks.
(The enumeration of which you may think
Decidedly needless and queer,
But I don’t agree, for it seems to me
That a poem needs Atmosphere.)
Ricardo Persimmons O’Callaghan Wright
Is the utterly sprucest of males.
He enters the place for to purchase a case
Of unbendable handmade nails.
(Either that or a ball of unknotable twine,
Or a saw or a barrel of pitch —
Or was it an ax or a package of tacks?
I've completely forgotten which.)
Be that as it may, he enters the store
Of that I am perfectly sure),
And his heart is gone when he gazes upon
That sweetest of maids, the demure
Luella Loranna O’Shaughnessy Firth,
The most beautiful hardware clerk
He ever has met, an engaging brunette
With a smile (or is it a smirk?)
That has the effect, as I’ve hinted before,
Of setting Ricardo awhirl
(As sometimes occurs when a maiden purrs),
And soon he is telling the girl
Of his Prospects in Life, and his Favorite Book,
And his Love for Beautiful Things,
While Luella smiles and the time beguiles
With dreaming of solitaire rings.
— followed by eight more quatrains, in which love, helped by money, prevails over Orlando Themistocles Perkins O’Day, the vexatious boss of the hardware store. Here is a first (alphabetically, by author) of many instances in which hardware stores satisfy the poetic need for lists !
An Edward Anthony (1895-1971) is treated by wikipedia here. R(obert). M(oore). Brinkerhoff (1880-1958) is treated here; see also these examples provided by the University of Toledo in its
Digital Resource Commons.
- Catherine Barnett.
(enewsletter, The University of Arizona Poetry Center, September 2008. Not poetry, but close —
A few summers ago I got it into my head that I to build a physical model of a poem that would show the way a poem can move, can resist closure. The image of a
hingekept coming to mind. I found myself in various hardware stores, trying to locate in the physical world an example of the kind of hinge I think of when I write, revise and read poems...
Author of , Alice James Books, 2004 (described here)
- Ela Barton,
Posted at the author's poetry blog, Weblog of a Rookie Poet, September 17, 2012, and reproduced below with the author’s gracious permission.
I’m at the hardware store.
and I know that I am not supposed to be here.
The men that are supposed to be here
have sawdust leaking from their pores, paint
stains on their pants and buy
beef jerky and drink mountain dew
and build decks in their backyards on Sundays.
They cannot bring themselves to describe me as a lesbian.
Because lesbians are characters in pornos, look good in
skirts, have rapunzel hair and are pleading to be saved,
the dyke that just walked in does not really exist.
They cannot make their mouths cave in to call me woman.
Because why would a woman strap down their breasts like that?
Look awkward and full in shirts made for strong shoulders
narrowing torsos. A woman, a real woman doesn’t look like that.
Until they realize that it just might be true. That female
parts might still be hiding under these size 40 jeans. That I am
nothing but a pseudo she, a deformation of woman and man.
do you know what it feels like to walk an aisle of eyes that
are disgusted, scared and pity you?
do you know what it takes to be the woman that mothers pray their children don’t become?
A man is eyeing me in the lumber department. I can see
his macho swell in my direction, he does not know why
and neither do I but he has to let me know that he is a man...
He’ll offer his help for no good reason, need 100 times the amount
of the product I want, scowl in my direction if I reach for it first.
He needs me to know that he is a man, and I am not.
I’ve seen this before. In the way straight men hug my wife.
wrapping testostorone forearms and biceps around her slender
curvy frame, pressing their investments against her breasts,
just in case she changes her mind about herself
and then they look at me...
bother up the nerve to give me their side, adequate space for
such a waste of woman, they hold me; roach in a tissue,
hoping to throw me away soon.
I know that I am a mother’s cringe when daughters want to play softball,
the uneasy in your boyfriend when you use clippers on your hair, I am
the request for admission on ladies night at the bar.
but I am not the blood sprayed across a smashed windshield, so please stop staring.
I am not sorry for who I am, so don’t pray for my forgiveness.
I am not the bible, so do not go preaching your understanding to anyone that will listen.
Do not call me sir or ma’am unless you’d like me to top you.
You are not my wife, so please stop trying to decipher me.
We are so bloated with arrogance
We have forgotten that human is a taxonomic rank.
So selfish that we only believe in you or me.
I am at the hardware store.
and I know that it has taken me years to get here.
I can only hope that the men that are supposed to be here
will get here soon.
- Elizabeth Kirkley Best.
(2005, accessed 20 April 2010) —
Do the hinges, bolts, nails sing
Of days when Christmas was new?
- Pat Borthwick.
In Praise of Hardware Stores
I love the way they step outside to greet you
waving their long-handled bristle brooms
and yellow plastic dustpans, their sack barrows
and lightweight extending ladders.
They occupy the pavement,
edge towards the butcher’s next door
as if eager to count his chops
or pluck his hung capons.
I swear the clothes props and guttering,
the companion sets and mops
are trying to cross the road.
Strung around the doorframe
are clusters of gleaming pans
like droops of fruit on a vine
and if they let you through
you’re in a grotto with stalactites
and stalagmites, towers of stacking bowls
and buckets, linoleum rolls, stainless steel,
crystal glass, Pyrex, chrome and brass,
galvanized iron and Teflon.
And oh, the sweetness of their breath —
a mingle of beeswax and paint,
Nitromors and paraffin, creosote and rope.
There’s rows of tiny cup-handled drawers
filled with every type and size of screw and nail,
hook and hinge and curtain track end,
oddments you can buy one of, or two gross
and, camouflaged among it all,
is the man who knows where everything is kept
because he loves each single item
as if it were part of his own bloodline.
What more is there to do in life
but help solve each other’s problems,
to put into someone else’s hand
across the polished counter top
something to make their life
glide by more smoothly? Or in one breath
raise the subject of the price of bread,
the race to reach beyond the Universe?
Presented above with the kind permission of the author, in the north of England, who loves hardware stores and chandlers, school art stock cupboards, and allotment sheds. The poem won Third Prize in the Troubador Poetry Prize, 2008. Details here, and poet’s website here
- Matthew Brennan.
Resurrection, in (Cloverdale Books, 1994): 44; originally published in 34 (1991): 94.
My job these days is to cut lumber
at the Ace Hardware store. Often, too,
I do the inventory. It’s then
when the past can come back, and I
need to go home, build a small fire,
and watch the logs go up in smoke,
dead trees transformed into something else.
In Nam, my job was to bring back
the bodies on flatbed trucks, stacked
in rows like cords of wood. Sometimes,
if a mine blew up in a muddy
rice field where five men had
crouched in soupy water, blood would
flood them like a bouillabaisse—we’d
fish out what we could. But once
when a ship got bombed off harbor
in waves clear as a bathroom mirror, I went
down to count the dead, then sent them
upwards, one by one, like balloons
let go, allowed at last to rise
in the light like motes of yellow dust.
Presented here with permission of author, and with thanks to David Vancil for bringing this poem to my attention. Brennan is the author of several books of poetry; faculty profile (and list of publications) here.
- Joe Clark. .
Lynchburg (Tennessee): Lynchburg Hardware and General Store, 1972
Tennessee poems and pictures by the Hillbilly Snap Shooter.28 unnumbered pages. some nice photographs, probably sepia duotones.
- Averill Curdy.
Hardwareappeared in Poetry (June 2009), and here.
You lean disconsolate on your stool,
Sullen and certain
As minor royalty rusticated to this
Unhelpful climate of solvents, gaskets, pliers, and bolts.
Because they are new and manifold and useful
You feel their whispers against you. The staunch
Resistance of objects...
It strikes me that those
solvents, gaskets, pliers, and boltsmay be not only exterior, but interior components of our
- James Dickey (1923-1997).
Two Poems of Going Home,(1)
Living Thereand (2)
Looking for the Buckhead Boys.
The poem appeared in The Eye-Beaters, Blood, Victory, Madness, Buckhead and Mercy (1970, and can be found in The Whole Motion: Collected Poems here.
Looking for the Buckhead Boysthat the narrator bethinks himself to inquire among some merchants, after all,
Hardware and Hardware Merchants / Never die, and they have everything on hand / There is to know. Somewhere in the wood-screws Mr. Hamby may have / My Prodigal’s Crown on sale.
The boys the narrator knew have gone every which way, some away most not, some dead of heart attack or war, and Charlie Gates at the Gulf station.
Wikipedia offers concise account, and good links, here. I’d never read anything by or about Dickey, until now (1 June 2010). Whew.
- Lynn Doiron.
O! Hardware Store!.
At Poetry Circle (March 21, 2009)
...I want to open all the fifty-pound bags of peat moss
to build a ski jump from cinder blocks and pink insulation
that Olympians will carry a torch just to see.
I may not do this. I may leave the store
with a braided cable of cement dust and paint
Poet’s website, blog and book (, 2006) at/via lynndoiron.com.
- Marie Etienne (1942- ). .
Translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002
In the section
Journal de guerre(War Diary), part 30
January, this — No one writes poetry any longer, bric-a-brac in an old hardware store. / What credence can be granted to words following each other, how can they still be thought possible?
The translator’s decision to render vieux droguiste as an old hardware store strikes me as right. An old hardware store, of old disconnected things, that need assemblage into an utterance to breathe life into them. Aphoristic moments punctuate these 99
sonnetsin 9 sections. In part 33 — Precision which turns, which ponders and which sings. / No rumination. Inflections and refrains. / The sentence rather than the line.
Journal de guerrecan be found, in English and French, here in , the online journal of ICORN International Cities of Refuge Network, Spring 2007. The passage is cited by at least two reviews : here and here.
- Bob Flanagan (1952-1996).
because hardware stores give me hard-ons;
because of hammers, nails, clothespins, wood, padlocks, pullies, eyebolts, thumbtacks, staple-guns, sewing needles, wooden spoons, fishing tackle, chains, metal rulers, rubber tubing, spatulas, rope, twine, C-clamps, S-hooks, razor blades, scissors, tweezers, knives, pushpins, two-by-fours, Ping-Pong paddles, alligator clips, duct tape, broomsticks, barbecue skewers, bungie cords, sawhorses, soldering irons;
because of tool sheds;
because of garages;
because of basements;
Powerful, beautiful poem. Appears to be in the movie (Kirby Dick, dir., 1997) (more here).
The text is available here and there, by searching for a random selection of the above (in quotation marks). Flanagan’s telling is the best, and to be found on YouTube, e.g., here.
Nails (including a bed of nails) and hardware stuff appear in much of Flanagan’s life and work, which I’ve only recently stumbled onto. He lived with cystic fibrosis for many years; now I know something about what it is. Flanagan was a poet, performance artist, musician, author, thinker. See his books, and the Flanagan page at wikipedia.
- Jean Follain (1903-1971).
Marilyn Hacker’s translation of this poem —
Quincaillerie— is included in Mary Ann Caws, ed., (2004) here (translation at page 183, continues at 185).
So the hardware store floats toward eternity
and sells, till everyone has got enough,
great nails, in flames.
- Edward A Guest (1881-1959).
Hardware Store Fascination.
This 24-line poem encountered in the website of the Michigan Retail Hardware Association, here, with the note that the poem was delivered by Guest as key speaker at a hardware convention in Detroit.
There is something about a hardware store
Which, strangely, I can’t resist,
And I think it’s the joys I have hungered for
Which somehow my life has missed.
- Walter Hamady.
Reminder 113 A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words 251
In Neopostmodrnism, or, Dieser Rasen ist kein Hundeklo, or Gub2rzub2 number 6, or The incognita of Rita’s deep time coexisiting within central discoveries of the thermodynamic dichotomy of western thought: observed impregnant meanings & transhistorical justifications.
Other Title: Neopostmodrnism, or, Gabberjabb; no. 6, or, Dieser Rasen ist kein Hundeklo, or, Gabberjab number 6, Mt Horeb, Wisconsin: Perishable Press, 1988
What I take to be the title of the piece is the caption to this cut —
To the right of the cut, and not shown above, is the figure 253. The point being, a thousand words about a hardware store, beginning thus:
one (a two (picture three (is four (worth five (a six (thousand seven (words eight (and nine (they ten (all eleven (have twelve...
and concluding thus :
...Hamady Hardware [was] located on Corunna Road in Flint comma Michigan after I was expelled from the Cranbrook School for Boys long dash here actually comma it was there before built by my dad and sold to my Oncle Sam § but Walter worked there after school (who the hell laid in this Çãßé!?) and on saturdays period Oh! the Idyllic halcyon 1027 days of youth long dash I am still here with Harold comma Alex comma Alice and Franny in my forty Ford coupe with frenched headlights comma punched hood comma etc comma comma, comma c’mon
Alas, there’s no where to point to, the book is vanishingly scarce... well, except transcript of the colophon and an image or two from this 102-page volume, provided by the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections, best accessed via a fresh search for
hamady, walterhere, and too this excerpt from Mary Hamady a line in her Lebanese Mountain Cookery (David R. Godine, 1995) about
wash tubs brought along from Hamady Hardware in Flint.
Thanks AMJ for this lead!
- Barbara Hamby.
Ode to Hardware Stores.
In (described here : University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004)
Where have all the hardware stores gone — dusty, sixty-watt
warrens with the wood floors, cracked linoleum,
poured concrete painted blood red?
or this, closer to home —
flat-headed as Floyd Crawford,
who lived next door to you for years but would never say hi
or make eye contact. What a career in hardware
he could have had...
- Lyn Hejinian. .
Berkeley: Tuumba Press, 1984. —
It’s true, I like to go to the hardware store
and browse on detail. So sociable the influence
of Vuillard, so undying in disorder is order...
- Adam Houle.
If There’s Nothing You Need,
published July 7, 2009 at Linebreak, which publishes one poem a week, each Tuesday, and also publishes audio recordings of all poems. Click on author’s name for brief bio.
I need the industry of things, flat heads
heavy in a breast pocket, their points cut
- Vivien Jones.
The poem is presented below, immediately following the photograph of the shopowner, both with the kind permission of the author, who owns the copyright and who writes —
I was on an arts exchange to Kiltimagh, County Mayo last Spring and came across this gem of a shop...
He’s playing the crowd, he’s charming, he knows it.
The cameras flash on him,
his cat in the window,
curved in sleep on a box,
is well practiced too.
So many small drawers
with small things
in many sizes,
as few as you want
in a newspaper twist.
Rat-traps on a string
spiralling to the roof,
beside the wooden stair
that led to the upstairs bar,
one of many in the street.
So we gaze but do not buy,
We have no skill that
needs his precise stock,
measured in imperial.
Today he has sold a mousetrap
and a bottle of white spirit,
to a local woman who stood
aside while we took his picture.
Next year, like as not,
his door, too, will be shut,
soon to be a branch
of something from Dublin,
People will say Shame,
and tell their grandchildren
about the Hardware shop
that used to sell nails
in ones and twos,
and had a cat that dozed
in a curl on a cardboard box
in the window.
Hardware Shopis about to be published as a Kiltimagh set in the literary magazine (a Borders Council publication), and was shortlisted for the Virginia Wareby Award in July 2008. Information on Vivien Jones can be found here.
- Laura Kasischke.
Hardware Store in a Town Without Men
from (Ausable Press, 2004, now (29 August 2010) available via Copper Canyon Press). The poem is one of several available via the Copper Canyon page, and is presented below with the kind permission of the author.
Hardware Store in a Town Without Men
I found myself in a story
without suspense, only
one deaf falcon circling deafly, and that
wild college girl next door
screaming at her mother on the phone.
My heart, a golden lobster, a star
in a grave, some
hot blood running underground . . .
and all my early daydreams loosed
like termites in the walls
of some deserted church.
Oh, I recognized my agony right away.
The howling dog of daylight life, the years of lust
had opened up
a permanent inn for phantoms in my brain.
Then, I turned forty.
sweeping out the shadows
from the cobwebbed corners, raking
the leaves from the gutters,
the hair from the drains . . .
And sleep, the sweet
rolling water of its e’s.
A stroll through the beautiful
ruins of my own dreams.
A hardware store
in a town without men. Whole
shelves devoted to wrenches, gleaming,
and no reason
to lock the door.
Kasische has published several books of poetry, as well as novels in which there are several
passing mentionsof hardware stores. An interview appeared in the Ann Arbor Chronicle here (27 September 2009).
- Weldon Kees (1914-1955?). Poet, whose father John Kees headed the F. D. Kees Manufacturing Company, makers of hooks, handles, cornhuskers, and other items of hardware. See Anthony Lane his
The Disappearing Poet : What ever happened to Weldon Kees?in the 4 July 2005 number of , here.
- Nancy Keesing (1923-93).
Old Hardware Store, Melbourne.1977
Being un-organic, non-macrobiotic, lazy
I do not wish to return to the honest names
Or the slow, outmoded, heavy, intractable objects
As: mincers, mangles, mowers, mattocks, hames;
Collars and saddles of horsehair-padded leather;
Pots of cast and enamelled iron; hones
For sharpening blades of shares, shears, scythes and sickles;
Hafted axes; burrs and grinding stones.
But I value verbs: to mill, till, harrow, harvest, burnish,
Hew, strip, beat, toss, tether, render, comb,
Roast, brew, knead, prove dough — one returns to bread,
To meat, to bellies and bowels, to prick and womb —
To bear, be born, to suck, piss, shit, to cry,
To work, sweat, live, sing, love, pray, die.
By arrangement with the licensor, The Estate of Nancy Keesing c/- Curtis Brown (Aust) Pty Ltd.
The poem appeared in Keesing’s (Edwards & Shaw, Sydney, 1977), and is included in John Leonard, ed., (Oxford University Press, 1998). Archival material can be found via a finding aid of the Archive of Australian Judaica : scroll down to Nancy Keesing. Something too at wikipedia.
- Alice Kociemba.
Death of Teaticket Hardware.
I never knew his name,
nor he mine.
He was always there.
Patient. Polite. Shy.
I never knew the name of what I needed, either.
But he did. After listening.
You know that thingamajig
that connects the hose to the washer.
I need the innards of a lamp.
He’d find it in a flash —
through overcrowded aisles,
so narrow only a munchkin could maneuver.
In the back of the store, on the dusty top shelf
where whatsits live.
He’d tell me how to use it.
And he’d tell me again,
drawing it on the little scratch pad
he kept at the register (not the electric kind)
next to the dish of pennies
and the bowl of lollipops.
I would always leave with a red one,
He was the kindest man in town.
I imagined he went home at 5:30 every night
to the apartment above the store,
and told his wife over meatloaf and mashed potatoes
green beans and pecan pie:
That lady came in again today, seems bright enough
but doesn’t even know a lamp has a socket.
And he’d smile, when she would say,
Oh, Mrs. Dimwit.
And they would turn on the News at Six.
The drive to town is eerie now
that Teaticket Hardware is gone.
Boarded up windows stare like a zombie
whose soul’s been stolen by Wal-Mart.
Peter Cabral, son of John, son of Peter, son of John,
I never said hello, or goodbye, or thank you.
Death of Teaticket Hardwarereceived an International Merit Award from the in 2008. The author, with whose gracious permission the poem is presented here, writes:
I am putting together a chapbook with this as the title poem, and have a picture (from Falmouth Historical Society) on the cover. Teaticket Hardware opened in 1925, and closed in 2005 (after Wal-Mart came to Falmouth).Alice Kociemba can be reached via email@example.com.
The book can be obtained from Jamaica Pond Poets, here.
- Valerie Lawson.
, Ragged Sky Press, 2007
Used to be, but is no longer,
out there.A review with excerpts here.
On my last trip to that hardware store, I bought an electric saw,
some drill bits, saw horse brackets, and a two ton floor jack.
I don’t need these things every day, but I might.
- Gary Lechliter.
Hell’s Hardware Store.
Featured Poetryfrom Issue No. 26, ca 2009, here.
Nothing works right on anything.
The screwdrivers, like the IRS,
are driven to screw you over.
Claw hammers have gothic
thumbs that gouge your eyes.
- Ada Limón.
Two (funny) poems :
After her Husband Left Her, She Went to Work at the Hardware Store,and
Our Hero Watches the Lady at the Hardware Store Again and She Notices.
Find them here (in coconut five (July 2006)), and in her collection (Pearl Editions, 2006), which is good, puts me in mind of Berryman and Bukowski, for some reason. From the Amazon
product description,this —
a story that revolves around the book’s unlikely Hero, a man in a gray suit; the object of his affection, known only as The Hardware Store Lady; and his friend Lewis, the town drunk, who compulsively writes letters to Ronald Reagan.
- Elline Lipkin.
Conversation with my Father(
after Grimm's) here (archived poetry of ).
The Maiden Without Hands
After we speak I go to the hardware store
to decide on a drill, feel each black-packaged tool
bristle with its will to do harm.
Poem included in the author’s (Kore Press, 2006), described here.
- Amy Lowell.
The Landlady of the Whinton Inn Tells a Story.
11:4 (January 1918)
Name of Steele
George and Clif Steele.
Between ’em, they owned that farm you seen,
And a hardware store to Main Street.
My father used ter say
Nobody hereabouts thought they could cut a rakeful o’ hay
Or split a log,
Onless they’d bought the scythe, or the saw, or the sickle,
Funny name for a hardware store, warn’t it,
But them things does happen...
Click here to come directly to this passage, in this poem several pages long.
- Jane Mason.
Nichols Hardware Sells...
written by author in January 1970, when in Third Grade. Nichols Hardware in Lyme, New Hampshire, closed in 2005 (or 2006?), see the article (and poem) here.
- Dan Masterson.
The Man Who Steals Thumbs,
in On Earth as it Is : Poems. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1978
From the bus stop he goes straight
to the closest hardware store;
he likes hardware stores, always has;
something to do with the iron and wood
of the place: hinges, bolts, axe handles;
nice to touch, to rub.
Something about thumbs (see other poems in the sequence), mortality. Urgent.
The poem (and the entire volume) can be found in the Contemporary American Poetry Archive here. Something about Masterson, who is/has been among other things a swimmer, here (being the finding aid for Masterson’s papers at Syracuse University). A
Closer Look at Dan Mastersonhere.
- Phyllis McGinley.
Please Lock the Hardware Store, or The Temptations of Oliver James.
In . New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1940.
guess the market or fling the dice,or drink or womanize, but he does buy hardware store gadgets that prove useless —
...the sliding rule or the gardener’s tool
Or the guaranteed bottle stopper.
A semi-revisionist assessment of McGinley by Ginia Bellafante appeared in the here (28 December 2008).
- Pablo Neruda (1904-1973).
Prologues: The House of Odes.
In Neruda, (translated by George D. Schade), Ponciá Vicencio, 1997
...I want everthing
that all be
a cup or tool,
I want people to enter the hardware store
through the doorway of my odes.
- Kenn Nesbitt.
Andy Handy’s Hardware Store,
in My Hippo has the Hiccups: And Other Poems I Totally Made Up. Illustrations by Ethan Long. Naperville (Illinois): Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2009
Andy Handy’s hardware store
sells things that no one needs;
a doorknob for a doghouse door,
a kit for growing weeds...
Here (only one of two pages previewed).
- Sanford Pinsker.
Note, Left on My Office Door.
Like the small-town hardware store,
This note on my door is just to say
I have gone fishing
For the summer...
A sonnet to students, at the end of term. College English 40:8 (April 1979): 929, and here (jstor, for those with access).
- Robert Pinsky seems to like, and know about, hardware stores.
Intimations of mortality in
The Cold,where work — maybe — is protection against the draft, and a hardware store where, perhaps because of the time of day,
it seemed all of the other customers were old... I think that someone talked about the weather.... The poem is in (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996).
And this, from Grace Cavalieri’s interiew with Pinsky in 1995-97 —
I mean, Long Branch is the birthplace of many interesting people. There was a bunch of Jewish storekeepers in downtown Long Branch on Broadway and I think the grocery store was the Grocel’s, and they had a son who grew up to be Jeff Chandler and I think it was the hardware store where the son became Myer Abrahams, M. H. Abrams, the literary critic.
And here he is, checking out light bulbs at Inman Square Hardware. (article by Kathleen Pierce in (10 October 2008).
- Jack Prelutsky.
A Witch in a Hardware Store.
In Prelutsky's . HarperCollins Publishers, 2008
Light verse, about a broom in a hardware store. Someone has posted it here.
- Tita Reut. (
hidden screws). Avec deux gravures d’Arman et deux sérigraphies de César. Paris: La Différence, 1993
Forty-four poems, each describing a different tool: Les Fourches de César ( ? ); Serpe (sickle); Niveau (level); Maillet (mallet); Perceuse (drill); Étau (vice); Pied de Biche (crowbar); Corde (rope); Tenaille (blacksmith's tongs); Ciseau (chisel); Crochet (hook); Râteau (rake); Compas (compass); Équerre (bracket); Dame (rammer, reamer ? ); Pioche (pickaxe); Coutre (wedge that precedes plow, cuts vertically into soil); Chevalet (easel); Échelle (ladder); Plume (feather); Règle (rule); Aigulle (needle); Enclume (anvil); Soufflet (bellows); Tamis (sieve); Crayon (pencil); Queue-de-rat (rat-tailed file); Dégauchisseuse (surface plane); Égoine (saw); Pointeau (center punch); Toupie (shaper); Vrille (corkscrew); Les Haches d’arman (hatchet); Tarabiscot (moulding plane); Diapason (tuning fork); Remington (typewriter); Treuil (winch); Téléphone (telephone); Traitement de Texte ( ? ); Pinceau (paint brush); Gomme (eraser); Pompe (pump); Couteau (knife); Presse (press) — all of these my poor and/or failed translations.
Her method of describing these tools combines a careful scrutiny of their function and outward appearance... with a fanciful, clever metaphorization of each tool.ex John C. Stout his delightful
The Revival of Still Life in Contemporary French Poetry: Paul Louis Rossi’s Cose naturali and Tita Reut’s Vis cachées.7:1 (Spring 2003) : 98-118
More on Tita Reut here : artists books, collaborations, interviews.
- Robert Jefferson Rice (1856-1923). .
Raymond (Illinois), 1977 (?)
This volume is more fully described and contextualized here. I will seek to obtain permission to present some of Rice’s poetry here; the following is presented without permission, for now (19 June 2011).
I’m a Hardware Man
Lord, I’m but a hardware man,
And I scribble with a pen,
I rise and eat and toil and sleep,
Like other hardware men.
The controlling colors of my life,
Are mostly DUNS and BLUES,
Yet, on the whole I am content,
And the fates I'll not abuse.
So often when the balmy air,
Floats in the scented night,
Strange spirits whisper in my ear,
And visions cross my sight.
I do not pray to Thee for gold,
For that is not worth while,
All I ask is a breath of life,
And a woman’s cheering smile.
R. J. Rice / June 1, 1914
- Kim Roe.
After Being Called
Girlieat the Hardware Store.
A Merit Award Winner in the Boynton Poetry Contest, Bellingham, Washington, in Spring 2010.
I like to think of myself as a woman
Who carries a knife, drives a dark
One-ton diesel, scrappy stock dogs
On the seat beside me...
- Madelyn Rosenberg.
The man says,
I am convinced I can find the holy grail in here.
if I look hard enough...
- Cynthia Rylant.
Chosen by Ted Kooser for American Life in Poetry, Column 101 here. The poem appared in Rylant’s collection Waiting to Waltz (2001).
- Larry Schug.
In (December 2004) here and (June 2006) here. More on Schug here.
Nail Poem #92starts thus —
The hammer’s been to management school, where they teach the theory
of keeping separate the job
from the nail...
- Max Schwartz.
In the afternon ov the fawn,
being first line of untitled poem, typed on a sales slip/invoice of H. Schwartz Hardware. See at Poems-For-All, a great project of Richard Hansen in Sacramento California.
The poem is not in any (obvious) way about or of hardware, but the presentation is great!
- R. T. Smith.
In Smith’s Messages (Louisiana State University, 2001), and anthologized in Dylan Nelson and Kent Nelson, eds., Birds in the Hand: Fiction & Poetry about Birds (North Point Press (FSG), 2004).
Setting is a Lowe’s, where sparrows have come for refuge from a week of storms —
... and yet they soar
to offer, amid hardware, rope
and handyman brochures,
some relief, as if a flurry
of notes from Mozart swirled...
- Julia Story.
Pretend Hardware Store,
in . Magazine’s navigation doesn’t work well, but this link will land you directly to this poem, and three others below it, odd each, and good.
Somewhere in the darkness
is someone sorting. Sort of piling
or maybe sort of stacking.
More Story poems in , here.
- Patti Tana.
The Hardware Store,
an on-line poetry magazine for the 21st century(Fall 2007), here.
...Presiding over this male domain, like a librarian who knows where to find your book among the myriad stacks, a man with white hair and plaid shirt...
Takes an interesting turn. Author’s website here.
- Henry Taylor.
In Another’s Hands.
In (LSU Press, 1996), presented here and in a Google preview here.
The poem regards a complicated maneuver, and trust of another’s signals, in a hardware store parking lot. (There’s at least one other hardware store parking lot piece listed on this page.)
- Troost Avenue (pseudonym).
posted November 9, 2009, at authspot.
The poem concerns several generations of author’s family in (and finally out) of the hardware business, in a town called Rosemont, in Missouri (?). Twenty-three five-line stanzas. Descriptive. Writes at length about the shelves and what was on them, in boxes —
Things more important to daily life were found on the lower shelves
Wicks for lamps were still in need, and there were light bulbs of many kinds
Nails too, smaller for common use, great spikes for when you need them
Everything you’d ever need in the line of hardware
I touched every one of them, and soon got hardware in my blood
The poem is mostly a dwelling on, drawing out from memory, as if its author were turning over objects in his hands. Its conclusion aligns with my own sense about these things: the business is dispersed in an auction, and the poem ends thus —
...by the time I’d heard, everything was gone, the building just a shell
The shelves had been disassembled, where they went I’ve never known
I might have bought them, but what for, the hardware’s in my blood
- Ronald Wallace. Scroll or search down to
My Father always knew the secret name
stove bolt and wing nut...
The poem is linked to the author’s own explication. His biography and other information can be found here.
- Susan Wheeler.
in Wheeler, (University of Iowa Press, 2005)
- Nancy Willard.
Found in Willard, (New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1996)
Widely available on the Internet.
- and these —
The Intuflo hardware store at 186 Columbus Avenue near 68th Street holds poetry readings among the tools and vacuum cleaner bags because its owner is said to like poetry and wants to increase patronage. Attendance entitles an audience member to a 5 percent discount on a purchase.
Same store apparently also treated in Holly Brubach, The Talk of the Town,
Intuflo,(8 February 1988) : 26
’s own summary — The name Intuflo is a contraction of "intuition flow" & it & the store are twin brain-children of Richard Savitsky, the store’s head, who is a former entertainment & real-estate lawyer & a recent co-founder of a firm specializing in malpractice suits against lawyers & banks...
- finally, on books in hardware stores —
What began as a trickle of cookbooks in kitchen shops and do-it-yourself titles in hardware stores has become, in recent months, the fastest growing component in many major publishers’ retail strategies...
- One might also search
hardwareat the Poetry Foundation website. Today (21 March 2011), 75 hits of various relevancies.
- Ela Barton,