Joan Alice Wood Kimball '53 was a year ahead of Sylvia Plath, who may have taken Miss Boroff’s fiction writing class with her. That connection has been erased along with the blackboards. Though she was only two years at Smith, she does vividly and fondly recall donuts in Seelye, jazz-jams at Davis, cozy chairs in Neilson, smoke and cards in the front room of Gillett at midnight.






Joan Alice Wood Kimball '53



My message-making ways cannot compete
With modern wireless satellite telephones.
So many kinds of talk are obsolete.

To pen a memo has become effete.
The older generation still is prone
To message-making ploys that can’t compete

With radio noise, that electronic shriek
That craves not paper, much less graven stone.
So many kinds of talk are obsolete.

My grandchild palms her cell phone just to greet
Her friends or presses keys in IM mode.
Their message-making habits must compete

To keep up with the latest form of speak.
Extinct—the talking drum and megaphone:
So many kinds of talk are obsolete.

I still rely on pen and ink to seek
Replies from distant friends when I’m alone.
Although my writing ways cannot compete,
Their stylish talk will soon be obsolete.



A villanelle, published in Iambs & Trochees, Sept. 2006