The poetry of consumption – and hoarding

September 8, 2012

Kristin LaTour’s mother-in-law owned seven crockpots. Varying in age and size and dating back to the 1970s, they represented not just the woman’s love of slow-cooked stews, but her proclivity to collect beyond the point of reasonableness.  

Of course, as the Chicago poet tells the story, she and her husband did not know this crockery awaited them, along with piles and piles of other domestic items, when they went to clean out their recently deceased family member’s house. Luckily LaTour was somewhat prepared. “I’ve lived with hoarders,” she told an audience at Chicago’s Woman Made Gallery, speaking of her own mother and grandmother. “So I’ve been thinking about this a lot.”

The result is an untitled poem that is equal parts family memory and an episode of Hoarders:

My grandmother saw fit in her unfitness
To stock her used tissues neatly into folder squares
And tuck them into bedroom and kitchen drawers

A bag full of cake mixes from the 1960s in a bedroom closet
A cabinet of jam leaking sticky black in the basement

We sift through debris of empty jeweler’s boxes
Empty, unopened bottles of perfume
And in our sighs, knowing, she was always this crazy

You can hear LaTour’s funny, moving read of the poem in the audio above.

Dynamic Range showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified’s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Kristin LaTour spoke at an event presented by Woman Made Gallery in June. Click here to hear the event in its entirety.