Posts Tagged ‘food poems’

“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” ~ Emily Dickinson


Fasten your seat belts. This one left me reeling.

via Just a Pinch Recipes


by Hayden Saunier

The child hums as he carries, too late,
his grandmother’s sugar-dusted lemon-glazed cake

down the street to the neighbor who needs to be cheered,
too late for the neighbor

who’s stepped into the air
of her silent front hall from a ladder-backed chair

her church dress just pressed, her head in a loop she tied
into the clothesline, too late

he unlatches the gate,
walks up the brick walk on his tiptoes, avoiding the cracks

toward the door she unlocked, left ajar, who knows why
or for whom, if on purpose

or not, but because he’s too late
she’s gone still when he reaches the door and because

he’s too late, as he calls out and looks, brilliant sun
burns through haze

pours through sidelights and bevels
through chandelier prisms, strikes white sparks and purples

on ceiling and walls, on the overturned chair, on her stockings
her brown and white

spectator shoes on the floor
and because he’s too late he remembers both terror and beauty

but not which came first. But enough of the one
that he ran

and enough of the other
to carefully lay down the cake at her feet.

~ posted by permission of the author, © 2011 Hayden Saunier. All rights reserved. (Rattle #36, Winter 2011)

*   *   *

Hayden: “I love the way objects, images and stories connect and find their way into a poem. An old friend had sent me an outrageous pound cake one Christmas and when I described it as ‘sugar-dusted, lemon-glazed,’ the story of the boy in this poem, told to me years earlier, came straight to mind. Everything came together through that sunny yellow circle with its center missing — dense, empty, bitter, sweet, gestures we make too late, a child’s ability to take in everything at the same moment, at once, and complete. It was all in the cake.”

*   *   *

I still hold my breath every time I read this powerful, heartbreaking poem, as though I can’t believe what is happening, wishing I could somehow call the boy back to keep him from seeing what he will see.

The escalating urgency and suspense, and the intense crackle of opposites colliding are so masterfully executed detail by detail, phrase by phrase, in just one cascading sentence.

How fine is the line between terror and exhiliration — or are they one and the same?

We are left to ponder which is the greatest tragedy — that a woman committed suicide, that a child was traumatized, or that perhaps a life could have been saved if that cake had been delivered just five minutes earlier.

“The One and the Other” won the 2011 Rattle Poetry Prize, and is included in Hayden’s brand new book, Say Luck (Big Pencil Press, 2013), winner of the 2013 Kenneth & Geraldine Gell Poetry Prize.

I first stumbled upon “The One and the Other” online a couple of months ago while innocently searching for a cake poem, and have been haunted by it ever since. Totally unsuspecting, I could never have imagined, reading those first few words — “child hums . . . grandmother’s sugar-dusted lemon glazed cake” — that this poem would be laced with such a searing kaleidoscope of fragmented anguish.

I’d like to thank Hayden for granting me permission to share her poem and for providing a little backstory. Do pick up a copy of Say Luck; I’ve been slowly savoring and enjoying each and every poem.

♥ Visit the Rattle website to hear Hayden read “The One and the Other.”

♥ Hayden reads “Say Luck” at Listen Well.

*   *   *

written by Hayden Saunier
selected by Laure-Anne Bosselaar
published by Big Pencil Press, 2013
Poetry, 94 pp.
*Foreword by Ms. Bosselaar

Hayden Saunier is a writer, actress, and teaching artist living in the Philadelphia area. She is the winner of the 2013 Gell Poetry Prize, 2011 Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize, and the 2011 Rattle Poetry Prize. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, is a Bucks County, PA, Poet Laureate, and the 2005 Robert Fraser Poetry Award Winner. Click here to visit her Official Website.

*   *   *

poetryfriday180The lovely, talented and snickerdoodle-loving Keri Collins Lewis is hosting today’s Roundup at Keri Recommends. Check out the full menu of poetic goodies being served up in the blogosphere and enjoy the holiday weekend!


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

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Who wants pie? Did you save your fork?

In a perfect world, there’d be a poetry pie shop just minutes from home, where the heavenly aroma of freshly baked double crust fruit pies would lovingly call your name at precisely the right times.

Willingly seduced by juiced up sour cherries and rhubarb dallying with sugar, nutmeg and almond extract, or golden ripe peaches yielding to clover honey and ginger, you’d eagerly float on over, happily anticipating that blissful moment when you can wrap your mind and lips around a good helping of emotional truth.

Although most of us aren’t lucky enough to have such a magical shop nearby, we can still feast on the next best thing: Kate Lebo’s, A Commonplace Book of Pie (Chin Music Press, 2013), an uncommonly quirky, thought-provoking collection of 25 prose poems, cool ephemera, baking tips, and mouthwatering recipes stunningly illustrated by Jessica Lynn Bonin.


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Thanks to Diane Shipley DeCillis, we now know why the course of true love never did run smooth.

Curtain up!

* * *

via Da Silvano


At La Dolce Vita, in the village,
the gnocchi lifts itself off the fork,
floats like a cloud in your mouth,
the marinara so fresh,
it ripens the tomatoes, garlic
and basil right on your tongue.

Clemenza’s in the kitchen
stirring the sauce,
telling everyone he really doesn’t eat
that much, it’s the fumes
that have permeated his body,
gotten under his skin
and made him fat.

My date Antonio closes his eyes
after each bite, groans,
Marona, this is as good
as my mother’s.

Satisfied, he lays his folded napkin
on the empty plate and slumps
in the chair while I,
having saved room,
crane my neck looking for the waiter.
What, you want dessert too?
He seems surprised.

I’d like to see what they have,
though I’ve committed it
to memory.
Aren’t you full? he asks.
Am I full? I think to myself.
It’s bad enough that we have to die,
that I’m not taller, that my metabolism
is molto lento, but to dine with someone
who is indifferent

to a chilled plate
of Panna Cotta,
silky, quivering cream
adorned with fresh berries,
or Torta Strega, cake
perfumed with liqueur,
filled with pastry cream
and finished
with hazelnut meringue.

I cannot live on lasagna alone
and the fact that Antonio
doesn’t sense this threatens
our chance for a future.

The waiter smiles as he unravels
the dessert menu, handwritten
on rough brown craft paper.
Umbrian Apple Tart
Selville Orange Sorbetto …
This is so beautiful
, I say,
ordering the Panna Cotta.
May I keep the menu?
Of course Signora
, he says.
And you sir?

No. Nothing for me,
just a cup of espresso

Oh Antonio, Antonio what
are you thinking?
How can I trust a man
who doesn’t like sweets?
At La Dolce Vita
what could have been the start
of a beautiful romance—
snapped like a broken string
on a Stradivarius!

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003
Tribute to Italian Poets. Posted by permission of the author, copyright © 2013 Diane Shipley DeCillis.



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“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Apple print available via Sugar Lane Photo Shop

Every Autumn, I fall in love with apples all over again.

I reread my favorite apple poems, visit the farmers market to say hello to my friends Stayman, York, Winesap, Fuji, Rome, and Jonathan, drink lots of warm cider and best of all, look for new apple recipes.

No matter how you eat them — out of hand, in salads or in every conceivable baked treat, it’s all good.

Repeat after me:

Apple Tea Cake
Swedish Apple Pie
Grandma’s Apple Crisp
Rustic Apple Brown Betty
Buttermilk Apple Buckle
Apple Pandowdy
Apple Cider Donuts
Apple Clafoutis

See, you’re smiling. Are you thinking of family chattering at the table, the wonderful smell of cinnamon-y apples wafting from the oven, the safe, happy place of your childhood kitchen? Apples have that effect on people.

Apple Heart print available via Marianne LoMonaco

Today, just because you look all perky and adorable, we’re serving Baked Apple Oatmeal Pudding.

But first:

I love sinking my teeth into Dorianne Laux’s delectable poem because of the way it celebrates how wide ranging our apple associations are. Nature’s wondrous, perfect blushing orb — hold it in your hand, hold worlds within a world for all time. There from the beginning (A is for Apple Pie! an apple for the teacher), what piece of real or imagined history will you taste with that first bite?


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“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” ~ Jimi Hendrix


photo by Sharon Auberle

Syria. Shootings. Shutdown. Stand-off.

What to do when your government is broken and the world has gone mad? While everyone duked it out in public this week, our neighbor Jack quietly battled for his life in the privacy of his own home.

Jack was a writer and a recluse. Fourteen years living next door and I may have spoken to him three times. Amidst the din of discord and crazy agendas, foreign wars we’ll never understand, and a brand of racism and intolerance that continues to rear its ugly head, we all have our personal battles. Sickness and suffering aside, what saddened us the most was that Jack died alone.


© 2013 S. Auberle

Looking for solace, I was happy to discover new-to-me Ohio poet and photographer Sharon Auberle. Her poem offered comfort, and her wonderful photos captured the tangible beauty in the world, reminding me how important it is to hold onto yourself by simply doing what you know and what you can, and being present in each moment.


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