About the Poems
by Amanda Laughtland
These poems have beginnings in text borrowed from articles and advertisements from old magazines. I took up this series when my mom gave me a September 1943 issue of Sunset. After a few weeks, I looked around on eBay and ordered two issues of The Family Circle and an issue of Redbook from 1943. I've also drawn from a cache of 1930s magazines my parents found more recently in their attic.
Reading so much material from 1943 started me thinking about the "home front," a notion which seems largely absent today. The magazines emphasize the immediacy and sacrifice of war, balancing ever-present worries about the lives of soldiers "over there" with ideas and encouragement for those at home who were busy figuring out what to cook for dinner when their ration books were running low.
The magazines sometimes address the women of America as one, and other times give their pages over to women's individual voices. As the magazines would have it, women are equal parts beauty, strength, and common-sense ingenuity. Though much of what the magazines say feels limiting and less than true, I'm drawn to the community, do-it-yourself ethic that the magazines reflect.