Stanza Synecdoche first came to prominence in the UK’s vital contemporary poetry scene with her Lines on a Shopping List. A three-page, 27 stanza piece detailing all the things she needed to buy on her next shopping trip. Critics praised the piece for her daring use of juxtaposition in placing fresh vegetables next to boxed cereals. Thus echoing the use of the shopping list form first used by Wordsworth. Most notably in his seminal Note to a Grocer, way back in the height of English Romanticism. A piece which sent Coleridge into paroxysm of delight and forced him to lie down and smoke three pipes of opium to recover his equilibrium.
Synecdoche, though, did not rest there. For some time now the traditional haiku-like form known as the Note to the Milkman has been in decline in the UK. Increasingly so as traditional doorstep deliveries have given way to supermarket purchases. Ironically, Synecdoche herself references this in her Lines on a Shopping List mentioned above with the simple but profoundly moving line Milk x 3. But in her own Notes to the Milkman cycle, Synecdoche referenced a bygone age, a simpler age. Thus with her now-famous piece called Three pints of Gold Top and ending the cycle with the doom-laden and Forlorn elegy to a lost England contained in the final No Milk Today. / Thank You. A farewell to a bygone age that had brought a tear to many a poetry critic’s eye.
Synecdoche, thought, has moved on to embrace more contemporary matters with a whole pad of Post-It notes poems. Here detailing the minutiae of the contemporary daily life of the busy poet, especially her oft-quoted epic entitled Things to Remember. Mainly for its urgent plea for compassion in a heartless capitalistic society made stark in the urgent line: Feed the Cat. Something that even the most poetry-unaware of us can feel resonating deep within our souls. Even more so as we watch the nightly news unfolding a world of horrors upon us all. While as we sit struck numb a hungry cat meows next to its empty bowl in the kitchen.
It is through such obvious humanity and understanding that Synecdoche has come to dominate contemporary poetry. And why the announcement today of her taking the traditional post of Poet Laureate in the UK is long overdue.