With grace and courage Ann Elizabeth Carson looks to the past from the perspective of a contemporary feminist. A lively evocation of her aunts and their home in Cheltenham, Ontario reveals the rich and powerful ground for her own emerging sense of herself. As Toronto in the '30s, '40s and '50s comes to life in a rare blend of prose and poetry, Ann Elizabeth is caught unawares as the stories collectively uncover events that shaped her social-political outlook and reveal how our untold stories are inevitably woven into the fabric of our public lives. Laundry Lines: A Memoir in Stories and Poems is about the imperative to tell our stories for our survival, the complex emotional inheritance and painful undertow in families, the slow reconciliation with the blows and beauties meted out by life that comes with age, and the deep sensual salve offered by surrender to nature.One unique feature of this book is Ann Elizabeth's exploration of similarities between the unique coded language used by women and the one used by those working on the Underground Railway. The positioning of laundry on a line and particular quilted patterns were used to convey, for instance, whether a man/woman or a travel route was safe. Ann uses her skill as a long-time psychotherapist and writer to elucidate the role of women's hidden language and how we communicate a rich subterranean world of emotion and knowledge subtly to one another.
"Ann Elizabeth Carson's new collection, Laundry Lines, stories and poems, is as crisp as linens drying in the Manitoulin sunshine. A born storyteller Ann takes us on an extraordinary jaunt into history and poetry. She paints her experiences with an exquisite memory of places in Ontario from her youth to the present. By the end we have discovered more than her world, we have learned much about ourselves and who we will become. Ann's writing is wise, compassionate and lyrical. Always in her work there is an enviable clarity and immeasurable strength."--Gianna Patriarca, story-teller and poet"This is one of Canada's voices, silenced for too long, that lived through the Robertson Davies era; the Morley Callaghan, Dorothy Livesay, Margaret Lawrence, Ethel Wilson and Anne Wilkinson years, now come to life in memoir and poetry. A rare combination of prose and poetry that returns to the experience of how women lived and were shaped by the 20th century. We do not have an array of widely published women poets prior to the 1960s. In Ann Elizabeth Carson's Laundry Lines: Stories and Poems, we are able to witness how her language translates from one century to another into the new millennium."--Sonia Di Placido, poet, playwright, artist"Looking back at the long laundry line of her life strung with memories Ann Elizabeth Carson's book of poems and personal essays showcases stories strung juicy deep. Set in Cheltenham, Toronto and Manitoulin Island, Laundry Lines: Stories and Poems firmly rooted in the authors' 'mind cellar' and focused on the moment, is visceral and sensuous, inviting a reader to open the 'jewelled jars for every season preserved on mind shelves.' This is the strong insistent voice of an elder who has some answers to offer and is not afraid to ask difficult questions."--Donna Langevin, poet, playright