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Woman's Program Marie Luise Kaschnitz

             When Marie Luise Kaschnitz was 71, she wrote the poem Woman's Program in 1972. Kaschnitz lived in Hitler's Nazi Germany. She was born in 1901 and grew up in Berlin and Munich. The poem is her interpretation of an event that took place during her life. While many believe the story recalls a wartime event, I believe the story is merely one fabricated and told by a person suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's.
             If one were to read the poem without knowledge of the author's story, the reader would not be able to make sense of it. The poem opens with a line about a late night radio host without an audience. She goes on to say she offers her recipes to that audience. This is perhaps the only verse that makes sense. It has a clear order, and one can understand the logic behind it. As one continues, the story becomes unclear. There is no definitive or discernible pattern that follows.
             After reading the poem the first time, one could look at the life and times of the Author to better understand the meaning of the words. During World War II, Hitler forced German poets and artists to live in exile in their own land. Rather than leave her beloved country, Kaschnitz decided to stay. .
             Upon the second reading, the reader is left with questions. Was this about war? Is this story written about 1972 when it was published? What is the author trying to tell us? How do I make sense of these words? The answer is in researching the story further.
             During the post war period in Germany, there were six different styles of German writing. When Kaschnitz began to write in 1950, her style did not match that of the second phase in which writers were trying to "understand the past." It also did not match the fourth phase, 1970, when writers wrote about "a subjective world, and disillusionment and distance from public political action." OSU.
             If you analyze the words, "Pour milk into the telephone" and "Let the cats sleep in the dishwashers", and their context, one could assume the author had some form of mental disease.

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