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Posts Tagged ‘food poems’

Bonjour, Mes Amis.  Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

Please help yourself to tea and croissants. The pain au chocolat is especially good — is there a better way to greet the day than with buttery, flaky pastry wrapped around a decadent piece of deep dark chocolate? *rapture*

For passionate poet and gastronome Diane DeCillis, croissants are the stuff of dreams. About today’s poem, she says:

Yes, I had a dream about croissants. And maybe I was sneaking one. I have an almost pathological love of sweets.

Usually, I’ll take a dream and use some of the details as a framework. Since croissant is a French word for a Viennese pastry, I began to elaborate, adding that I was stealing in French and took it from there.

I remember being a kid and having a dream that there was a mountain of Paydays (my favorite candy back then) on the school playground. I was running toward it and woke up just before I reached it. Hence the end of the poem.

Croissant Lover’s Dream: the Ispahan (glazed with rose-flavored almond cream, sprinkled with candied rose petals and filled with raspberry-litchi pâte) by Pierre Hermé, Paris.

 

LAST NIGHT I DREAMED I STOLE THE CROISSANTS

I was stealing in French,

stole tender crescents
with a translucent glaze,
crusty and raspberry filled,

stole light
clouds of pastry
layered with butter.

glistening like Antoinette’s baubles.

I stole the moon, I stole la lune,
took le voyage dans la lunette.

I was the cow, la vache qui rit,
laughing and buoyant in flight.

I stole the sea, la mer, and la feesh,
that jump and dance in the moonlight.

I stole the night and the stars,
and wrapped them in silver
shaped like the neck of a swan . . .

Oh, don’t be jaloux, cher,

don’t foofaraw like the blue jays
and chimps. (They can become
jealous too.)

It was only one night
(cinq minutes dans ma coeur),
and, oui, some oozed
with chocolate,

sadly, none ever touched my lips.

~ copyright © Diane DeCillis, from Strings Attached (Wayne State University Press, 2014), posted by permission of the author.

(Click for pain au chocolat recipe via The Baker Chick)

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Oh, sweet words, sweet flirtation, light, lyrical and delectably playful! Do you also have dreams where you wake up just before the really good part? Is there a particular food you dream about most often?

Now, please leave your links below with Mr. Linky. Don’t forget to put the title of the poem you’re sharing or the book you’re reviewing in parentheses after your name. Enjoy all the poetic offerings being served up in the blogosophere today and have a delicious weekend!

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Sweet Dreams!

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Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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Remember when I shared Diane DeCillis’s exquisite poem, “Opera Buffa”?

I’m still sighing over “gnocchi lifted itself off the fork” and that lovely Panna Cotta — “silky, quivering cream adorned with fresh berries.” Remember silly Antonio, who wasn’t interested in ordering dessert? You simply cannot trust a man who doesn’t like sweets!

After reading “Opera Buffa,” I yearned for more of Diane’s poetry, which is why I was ecstatic when her debut collection, Strings Attached (Wayne State University Press, 2014), was released in May.

What a beautiful, lush, finely crafted feast of brilliance!

Her 60+ poems tease the intellect, warm the heart, please the ear, whet the physical and spiritual appetites, and nourish artistic sensibilities with their worldly elegance, lyricism, surprising turns-of-phrase, and evocative narratives.

I love how Diane’s passions for art, music, literature, food and family inform structure, theme, cadence, image, and metaphor. As in “Opera Buffa,” the food-related poems are infused with tantalizing sensory detail, whether she muses about her Lebanese grandmother’s stuffed grape leaves or leban (yogurt), “ethereal profiteroles filled with crème de la moo,” or terrapin soup à la Babette’s Feast.

Pop culture and high art happily co-exist in the layers of Diane’s imagination as she riffs on the likes of Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso, Magritte, Duncan Hines Pineapple Cake Mix, Tab Hunter/ Sandra Dee in a fleabag motel, Chopin, Debussy, Rilke, Gertrude Stein, “Like Water for Chocolate,” “Punch Drunk Love.”

Stuffed Grape Leaves via Jean Rivot

Diane brings her own brand of self-deprecating humor to these poems (“What Would Hitchcock Do?”), but there are also poignant notes of longing for an absent father (“Finding Fathers”), the push-pull dynamics of generational clashes (“Milk”), the vagaries of love, the liberation of dreams, the richness of cultural heritage.

Today I’m happy to share one of several prose poems from Strings Attached, perhaps the “foodiest” in the collection. I love how Diane has composed this sensorial symphony of sounds, colors, flavors, aromas and textures, lovingly capturing a cherished moment in time. A masterful culinary canvas!

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Mr. Cornelius Cucumber

While looking for more children’s books illustrated by Lena Anderson, I was happy to discover Anna’s Garden Songs – a whimsical, light-hearted collection of 14 fruit and veggie poems written by Mary Q. Steele.

Garden favorites like peas, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, beets and onions take their place in the sun with playful rhyming verse and Lena’s fanciful pictures. I may as well confess right now that I’ve always had a thing for giant vegetables, so when I saw how Lena fiddled with scale in this book I squealed with delight. :)

Blond, mostly barefoot, bespectacled Anna is just adorable as she plants, harvests and shares the garden’s bounty with her friends, grandfather, and large pet rabbit, who happily scampers through the pages and almost steals the show (he’s especially good at nibbling and napping).

 

From the moment I opened the book and saw Anna hiding in that big pea pod, I knew I was in for a real treat. I can’t decide which I like most — Anna sitting atop a giant beet, relaxing amongst the tomato plants, or wearing a dress made from lettuce leaves.

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We are always eating
or about to, or just done.
We are hungry, we are sated,
we are wishing we hadn’t.
We are making up for it,
or planning our denials,
or confessing them.

~ from “Dieting” by Julia Wendell

I’m pleased today to welcome Maryland poet Julia Wendell, who’s as passionate about words as she is about horses. With a life marked by such difficult personal challenges as anorexia and alcohol addiction, it seems riding and writing have been her saving graces.

The 29 poems in her new chapbook Take This Spoon are presented in seven sections, each leading off with a favorite family recipe to whet the reader’s appetite. As she says in her poem “Dieting,” we spend much of our time obsessing about food. Some are addicted to eating, while others are addicted to not eating. Better to take a lesson from animals:

Self-consciousness doesn’t ruin

their appetite or enjoyment.
They don’t judge what they consume,
or long for what they won’t allow themselves.

They don’t confuse who they are
with what they eat,
fearing they won’t be loved
if they’re fat, or don’t cook,
or overcook, or nearly kill themselves
by making up for their gluttony
with fasting.

Julia explores the complicated relationship humans have with food by fixing a personal lens on her own family. In artfully crafted scenes, (a mother keeping her daughter out of the kitchen so she won’t see her drinking, a young woman bringing home a bohemian boyfriend to dinner at her mother’s “immaculate table,” a woman aching for her deceased mother as she comes across her handwriting on recipe cards), the subtexts of pain, regret, loss, and contention are plated to perfection. Her descriptions of food are lyrical and sensual, her voice intimate and honest, her ability to align what is being eaten with what eats away at the heart and soul is powerful.

Since so many of you enjoyed Julia’s poem, “My Mother’s Handwriting,” I know you’ll find her thoughts about writing, familial relationships, and the love of horses interesting.

Naturally, I asked her to share a recipe. Peanut Butter Pie, anyone? :)

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1. “Cranberry,” A Commonplace Book of Pie by Kate Lebo and Jessica Lynn Bonin

2. “The One and the Other” by Hayden Saunier

3. “Sugar” by Barbara Crooker

4. THE POEM THAT WILL NOT END by Joan Bransfield Graham and Kyrsten Brooker

5. “Teatime Grouch,” “Teddy Bear Tea,” “Tea Around the World” from TEA PARTY TODAY by Eileen Spinelli and Karen Dugan

6. “Tea” by Carol Ann Duffy

7. “Color” by Christina Rossetti

8. “The Work of Happiness” by May Sarton

9. ANTIQUE PIANO & OTHER SOUR NOTES by Barbara Etlin

10. WHY DO I CHASE THEE by Jessica Swaim and Chet Phillips

11. Emily Dickinson flower poems

12. “My Party” and “You Are Going Out to Tea” by Kate Greenaway

13. “Song of the Flower XXIII” by Kahlil Gibran + Roundup

14. “Calvin Coolidge” from RUTHERFORD B., WHO WAS HE? by Marilyn Singer and John Hendrix

15. IF DOGS RUN FREE by Bob Dylan and Scott Campbell

16. “My Mother’s Handwriting” by Julia Wendell

17. S IS FOR SEA GLASS by Richard Michelson and Doris Ettlinger

18. Interview with Julia Wendell (Take This Spoon)

19. POEM-MOBILES by J. Patrick Lewis, Douglas Florian and Jeremy Holmes

20. ANNA’S GARDEN SONGS by Mary Q. Steele and Lena Anderson

21. MISS EMILY by Burleigh Muten and Mac Phelan

22. DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST by Irene Latham and Anna Wadham

23. STRINGS ATTACHED by Diane DeCillis

24. “Oreos” by J. Patrick Lewis

25. “My Teddy Bear,” from “Adventures of Isabel,” and “Furry Bear”

26. Four Food Haiku from Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico! by Pat Mora and Rafael Lopez

27. “Last Night I Dreamed I Stole the Croissants” by Diane DeCillis

28. BAKING DAY AT GRANDMA’S by Anika and Christopher Denise

29. “Monet Refuses the Operation” by Lisel Mueller

30. “The Look” by Sara Teasdale

31. “Parkin” by Diane Wakoski

32. “Each Time” by James Rumford

33. PIE SCHOOL by Kate Lebo

34. 21 Cool Gifts for Poetry Lovers

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♥ A permanent link to this archive may be found in the sidebar of this blog (scroll down to “Archival Lists”).

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