'Shurt', And It's Hard To Keep A Clean Shirt Clean
726 Words3 Pages
Robert Pinsky and June Jordan are both successful and well-known poets. Many people tend to find similarities between Pinsky’s “Shirt” and Jordan’s “It’s Hard to Keep a Clean Shirt Clean;” in reality, however, these poems are significantly different from one another. Both poems highlight the speakers’ dissatisfaction, but Jordan’s poem is more successful and powerful than Pinsky’s because of its use of tone, poetic devices, and relatable theme. Robert Pinsky’s poems tend to be political, and his poem “Shirt” is no exception. It the beginning of the poem, Pinsky describes the process of how his t-shirt was carefully produced in a factory overseas. He then transitions to describe the tragic Triangle Fire of 1911 and how the victims had to respond to the chaos in the moment. Then, he circles back to clothing production in Europe and the United States by talking about the tedious work performed.
Jordan’s “It’s Hard To Keep A Clean Shirt Clean,” however, is much more personal and less political; it is based off an encounter with a past student of hers that had a significant impact on her life. It begins first by describing the setting, which is then interrupted by a knock at the door. The two are talking when a dog jumps on the visitor and soils his shirt. The speaker tries to remove the stain but comes to find that it is much harder than initially thought. When the stains are finally removed, the speaker realizes that the white shirt will never quite be what it once was.