"Having walked the corridors of hospitals for more than a few years, I can tell you that cleaners can sometimes be the best doctors of all. And now I find they can write some great poems too. This book is wonderfully democratic. The art here is in the work done before and beyond the writing. The endless picking up, mopping, smoothing and shining. And always, it seems, for someone else. These are poems with strong forearms. My deepest congratulations to every poet in this collection – and my long overdue thanks. I will never walk on a neatly mopped floor again."
– Glenn Colquhoun
“Whether it’s cleaning hotel rooms, hospitals, offices or their own homes, the people in this book write candidly about their experiences and offer up much in relatability. After all, as the book’s blurb states upfront, ‘cleaning is universal’ as much as it is personal …The voices collected here remind us that cleaning isn’t just good for our health—sometimes it can be good for our soul.”
– Chris Tse, Landfall
Somewhere a cleaner
Eds. Adrienne Jansen
Te Rongomai Tipene-Matua, Joan Begg, Wesley Hollis, Nicky Subono
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve all been thinking about essential services. Including cleaning. Cleaning is universal.
It’s steeped in tradition and culture. It’s essential, it’s ordinary and it’s surprisingly poetic.
Somewhere a cleaner captures the spirit, the highs and the lows, of this occupation that often falls below the radar. The poems range across hospitals, offices, marae, clocks, schools, boat hulls, sneakers and more.
The poets themselves, a mix of novice and established writers, are equally diverse.
Through songs, rhymes, deeply insightful poems and poignant small stories, this anthology gives a voice to a profession both invisible and indispensable.