Check out the newest anti-aging treatment to hit the shelves of your local drugstore: DERMAdoctor's "Poetry in Lotion" which claims to be—chuckle, chuckle—"well versed in reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles & age spots." While the Poetry & Popular Culture office has yet to test the product personally, Poetry in Lotion is generally getting good consumer reviews. "I went to bed 40-something, with deep lines around my mouth, forehead and eyes," writes one reviewer, "and I woke up with a 30-something face."
The convergence of poetry and anti-aging treatment is not a particularly new one, however. From the late nineteenth- century forward, soap manufacturers and skin cream proponents have pitched the curative powers of their dermatological applications via verse of all kinds. Check out "Her Secret" from an ad for Cleaver's Juvenia Soap (pictured to the left) that appeared in Harper's and which reads:
I met a maid, a charming maid,
Whose face owned youth and beauty;
I felt to speak a word to her
Was but a man's clear duty.
Sweet maid, I said, what lends such charms
To light each lovely feature—
Does hope, ambition, love or gold?
Do tell me, sweetest creature.
The light upon my features, sir,
Is not of love or hope;
I've only washed my face just now
with Cleaver's Juvenia Soap.
Compared to Juvenia—which produced nearly instantaneous results for users a century ago—Poetry in Lotion is a slow-acting agent, requiring all of a night's sleep for its effects to become visible. While Poetry & Popular Culture can't account for the slowdown, it is waiting for the next advance in poetic skin-care treatment: Alexander Pope-on-a-Rope.