Sunday, December 26, 2010

Which two words are proper to end poetrybites 2010?

“Thanks, Susan.”
Is blog-poem a new form? I’ll ponder as I roast root vegetables. As I contemplate creating this --

Winter Citrus Fruit Salad with Jalapeno Olive Oil or the only salad made this week without olives

cherry tomatoes
Sciabica’s Jalapeno olive oil
perhaps, nuts, perhaps, not

Saturday, December 25, 2010

How does one get a jump-start on poem-making for 2011?

Simple. Straight-forward. Begin looking up the etymology of your 500 favorite words many of which include fruit & vegetable. By the way, what precisely is jump-start? Of well, the list swells to 501. Things are bound to get circular.

Cook accordingly to what is found (out). Perhaps, incorporate what was momentarily thought of as lost.

Friday, December 24, 2010

What poem-making does Christmas inspire?

….for those who no longer celebrate? For those who say (nevertheless),“Bring on the lights.” Of course, recommended is reading – short forms in particular.

There’s sushi for those of us who opt-out of cooking the festive meal. Substitute pen for spoon.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Is etymology the unseen glue in a poem?

Because each word matters? Because where each word comes from matters. Land and inspiration.

What is the origin of any soup? Each ingredient and its subsequent absence. For instance, the removal of spent vegetables in a stock, and, of course, the ridden bay leaf.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What is fractal poetry?

Poems about flowers? About cacti? Waves? Too many to count. What’s fractal about language? For instance, are verbs more fractal than nouns?

In cooking look deep into an artichoke.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Which food best accommodates an occasion poem?

The occasion, you ask. Winter Solstice. Let there be light, let there be a pomegranate. A cypress will do no harm.

When a pomegranate is mentioned, of course, it’s the seeds we’re talking about. Good to invoke on the shortest day of the year. Perhaps to the above trinity, add "anticipation".

Monday, December 20, 2010

How will the total lunar eclipse affect the poem you wrote today?

And the poem tomorrow?

How is a meal both influenced and the influencer? In other words, does what you eat affect the poetry you write? Does poetry dictate what you eat?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What happens when you think you know how the poem will end?

Who is the “you?” Poet or reader?

What happens to a meal when guests guess what will be served?
What level of satisfaction results?
What percentage of mystery?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Do poems written in winter reflect lessening light?

Are they shorter? Darker? Denser?

Does winter food calculate its relationship to the equator?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What is a "busy" poem?

When questioned, “How are you?” people often respond “busy.” When asked, “How a poem is?” do you think the response is “busy?”

When you ask a cook the same question (How are you?) most likely you’ll be handed a bowl of marinated olives to put on the table. She will be smiling.

Marinated Olives

To olives, lemon peel, dried lemon thyme, garlic, bay leaf, olive oil, add almonds and/or chopped tomatoes. Yes, tomatoes.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How is a blurb like a title of a poem?

Both herald a poem.
Or is it the other way round: How is a title, a blurb?
Much debate these days about the efficacy of blurbs.

What if, recipes were titled with more forward-sounding language?

RICE SALAD FOR DEMETER and the rest of us, too

Jasmine rice (cooked)
peeled mandarins (or similar)
seeded pomegranate
roasted almonds
lemon thyme
olive oil

mix. enjoy.

P.S. What’s forward-sounding language? Lemony???

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Do you peel your poems before eating?

Do you peel a Fuyu persimmon while reading your poem?

Skin. Flesh. Paired and paring.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Do birds of feather, get published together?

Yup. Pre-reserved spaces in the formation. When a flock descends, space it at a premium. If this thwarts your migratory ambition, feather your own nest. You will find like metered birds.

About birds, can’t, can’t eat quail. Just can’t. That topknot gets me every time.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Is there a process to make a poet a better poet?

Good, better, best. In the meantime, study craft. Read widely & deeply. How do you impart play; measure inspiration?

Improve the cook? Encourage her to get her hands dirty. Fire up the kitchen.

Monday, December 6, 2010

How do you bid bye-bye to a poetry series?

Endings begin something. Like a door. Window. Splayed book.

To celebrate the last poem, slice a persimmon or two.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Are layers of an edited poem visible?

Digital footprints? Tree rings? Shale? Seen through Plexiglas? Or, password protected and invisible?

How does a well-cooked meal improve by its out-takes? Craft & play. Today’s grilled baby artichokes proclaimed inedible; tossed out with the junk mail. Yearning for success, try again.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Without a deadline, how many poems wouldn't be?

What kind of deadline? Both external and self-imposed. Now, do you wish to adjust your answer?

How many meals wouldn’t be served if company weren’t invited? How did the meals different? How many dishes repeated? Marinated olives being the constant.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Does wanting to write a particular poem make the poem stronger?

What’s a weak poem? A winter sun?

The desire to say something can be huge. The desire to be heard, immense.

Cooking is an activity to satisfy a desired taste. This kind of desire is rarely wishy-washy. Shrimp with pomegranate seeds. Hot and sour soup. Lamb with peanut sauce. Blueberry pancakes. Disparate but certain.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Are poems more like pumpkins or Brussels sprouts?

Ludicrous but so is giving away the best of you free. It’s called submitting poetry, as one writer told me. A poet who doesn’t submit. I’m with the gals who give it away, fail and face rejected. Blessed the exception.

Today, cooks fear a dry turkey. My advice: sip a beverage, get a couple of poems ready to submit while the meal roasts. Or skip the bird completely. Invite the brave. Avoid the naysayer.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Is the way we talk about poetry taking its clues from wine?

Blending is rampant. Structure is discussed and revered. Describing wine is a poetic genre.

Not to mention the paring of wine and food and poets: schools have been built. Palates debated.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

When are too many words too many?

For a poet that is. Is rest from writing a good thing? What signifies
a gluttony of letters? Pretension? An overdoes? As in, “perhaps, one should consider…”

Much easier and graphic to know when too much food (eaten) is too much consumed.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Does a particular cadence in a poem make the work more sophisticated?

Word as sound. Now think sound as fabric. Silk over fleece. Velour over cotton. Polyester poetry?

Cadence in cooking. Gently heating black beans for hours – gurgles and tiny spits. Grilling chicken marinated with lemon, lemon thyme, pepper, and olive oil -- chatty verses the introspective sliced persimmon also being grilled. Please don’t underestimate the role of surveillance in poetry & cooking.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is an interpretation of a poem by the poet wobbly at best?

Three-legged stool? A game of one less chair?

A cook’s prejudice interprets the meal. Less salt/more pepper (always). A particular hue. Texture.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do most poets write on a single theme?

Nine out of ten times? Or nine years out of any decade? Perspective is personal and singular and in the execution, plural. Word choice. Word order. Events do alter. Like aging. And the experience of taste.

If seasonal were not the issue, would most cooks favor a particular food -- morning, noon, and night. This is personal: there is no dish, dear, in which I would not insinuate a Fuyu persimmon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Poets aren't torch singers, are they?

Why is a poet’s reading often problematic. Eyes downcast or theatrics over the top –neither, please. Nor, not too glib or predictable the subject. Page and performance, a balanced mystery.

Recipe and meal. Mouth weds desire. Ripe fruit is always welcomed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Are anti-war poems a subset of love poetry?

Not in the troubadour tradition but certainly love as life-sustaining. Healthy poetry for a healthy heart, for a playful mind. Take your words outdoors today; walk them cheerily. By the way, does love love to rant?

The mouth loves poetry. Loves healthy food. Playful food, too. Picnics, in particular.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When you hear a poet read her work, do you then read it differently?

Hear it in a different way? Understand it in a different way? The original is meaning and voice.

What is the original voice of a cook? Signature dish. Can you duplicate?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Is inquiry the linchpin for poetry?

Sorry if you missed Mark Doty's reading at SF Zen Center last evening. If you were there you recognize the rhetorical question. Otherwise read his FIRE TO FIRE, New and Selected Poems.

By the way, cooking is inquiry (of taste) and satisfaction (of hunger). Not much is rhetorical about food, I’d say.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Does a poem bend to will?

Does it bend to editing?
At its core is poetry like bamboo – quick-growing and flexible?

Perhaps, a poem is more akin to rice.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

When you find unexpected moments to work on a poem are these stolen or freed?

Liberated verse or purloined stanzas? Does it matter. To the page? To the screen?

About food. On the spur of the moment whipping up a brown rice salad (because the rice is left-over). How does the pomegranate feel about having its seeds liberated in a moment of stolen time?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Do you know of a study comparing & contrasting poems written on the first and the last day of the month?

To what avail? Words are fuel but do studies feed the belly?

Word-rush and sugar-rush. Day after Halloween. Calories for a trilogy.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What's the connection between poetry & dance?

Word & movement.

When word is spoken, the dance begins.

When olive oil is heated, garlic unleashes its choreography.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Do poems scare?

In many ways. The obvious, Halloween. Ghoulish tales & masks. And words in and of themselves like raccoon and durian.

Sometimes what’s left out is terrifying.

About food, black & orange cupcakes don’t have an ounce of the lyric. Scare me. Always have.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Is poetry a sport?

Yup. Is sport an occasion for a poem? Yup. Giants one up.

You thought I was kidding? An historic occasion.

Spring Training
for Paul Watsky & Willie Mays

to fly
isn’t easy.
I hear
a finch
slam against
the window.
I assist
my body
a warning
track. Finch
pops up.
The season
its sacrifice
all things
on the fly.

Regarding food, sport is an occasion for “junk.” Hot dogs w/mustard, chili on the side. Salsa & chips. Liquids cold & various. Yum.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How is a poet like a magician?

It’s all in front of you on the page, in your ear. Sleight of hand, the edit. Makes the rabbit disappear. Makes the rabbit reappear.

Same at a cook’s hand. A few straightforward ingredients. Add an herb. To not follow a recipe is to edit. Discernible weight to the outcome. Tuber and meringue.

Monday, October 25, 2010

How is a poem connected to fog?

Perspective. Haze and clarity. Both fine things. Watch as the poem embraces the antics of fog. Strong the foreground, as in, what is upon the page and background, hazy. Then a shift, perhaps wind; miraculously the background becomes clearer. Upon a poem’s second reading, what receded, doesn't.

Spice accomplishes the same with food. Chili flakes in the fish stew. Or white peppercorns. Foreground/background. Layers to taste.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What impact, where the poem is written?

Vary the locale, vary the poem?

Try this. Cook on a different stove – gas vs. electric. Or over coals?

Every condition, conditions language. Conditions food.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Are longer poems easier on an audience?

Do short poems scare an audience? Difficult to settle in and listen without expectation of grasping whole cloth, the first time.

Of course, there’s no consensus on what constitutes a longer poem. For me, 28 lines.

Regarding food, I consider soup as long. Ceviche as short-ish.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What constitutes a diminutive book of poems?

length of poems
number of pages
reader's prejudice?

Remember, there is nothing tiny about a clove of garlic. Nothing cute about a peppercorn.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Can a poem be created purely from imagination?

First, how does the purely imagined look? Sound? Is inspiration singular?

Poetry is a blood relative of meal-making. Can’t you trace an elder’s hand in the dishes before you?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Is a poem the sum of calculated silence?

Thinking Cage. Feeling spontaneity and spaces between words, translating as “silence.”

Of food? Leftovers are calculated spontaneity. Spaces between celebrate the largess and flavor of small dishes. Over which, a fine conversation is largely memory; what the spoken pays homage to silence.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Is a poem inherently a film?

The visual inseparable from word. Visa versa. Page animated or performance stilled, image & word in self-induced trajectory. Catch & release.

Think fish --wild. Farm-raised, I think of fruit. Ideally, never underweight. Patience & appreciation for visual ripening.

Monday, October 11, 2010

In which ways are poems unfaithful?

As love affairs with the seasonal – ripe and necessary. Go write/be with that poem about pomegranate or persimmon. Pears will understand and hold no malice for your action.

Isn’t it comforting to know that you can get a good lemon year-round.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Which poems are most like persimmons?

Every mark of language welcomes the seasonal and derives its breath from. Graft the line accordingly. Thus, your poems might be picked. Thus, the contour and sweetness or distance from, savored.

Thank the peach; anticipate the fuyu.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Does a manuscript of poetry usually begin as a project?

Are most manuscripts, projects completed? A task. Something seen through to the end. Whatever does the end mean in a poem? With a manuscript.

Food seen as a project is the meal.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Can a poem be written devoid of audience?

No. Always, someone/something listens. People & pebble. Sometimes, an audience of one – the poet.

I’ve heard it said, at minimum a meal requires one eater. Food’s audience, if you will.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Is word count a poetic form?

Yes. The obvious one, I don’t subscribe to in English -- haiku 5-7-5. So, that doesn’t satisfy the question. There are journals with word limits: CLWN WR (Bob Heman), Right Hand Pointing (Dale Wisely), Teeny Tiny (, Amanda Laughtland) leap to mind. Others, of course. Recently, I discovered Benjamin C. Krause, (editor of twenty20journal) who created quincouplets ( Have a look see.

Regarding chapbook publishers with exact word count, check out my posting 9/17/10. Dan Waber 500 Favourite Words

I’m working on poems of 36 words. We’ll see if it ends up as an interesting but shelved exercise or a box worth opening 35 times.

Regarding food, I recall several cookbooks which limit ingredients, say no more than 5 or 7. Remember, a modest number of leftovers makes a meal unexpected & delicious. Think, small dishes to accompany small poems. Yup!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why do certain artists inspire a poet?

Intimacy? To see & remember in a distant blue, longing?

Travel defines distance. When available at the farmers market, I buy squash blossoms. Remember, the black-clad Italian women (younger than I am now), preparing mounds of them. I title a poem. Later, buy three frocks because of the label – Fiori di Zucca. One should wear one’s poems. In public.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How are peaches unlike poems?

Let me set the stage: I was in TJ’s carrying a box of peaches. A woman (let’s call her Margaret) asks if I had bought peaches recently. “No.” She said she was skeptical if they would be good at the end of the season. “Guess I’ll find out.”

Unless you’re in an orchard, you buy fruit without tasting. You select by eye, hand, nose, and prayer. In a bookstore you can sample a poem or two before purchasing that exact book. Folks, that’s how peaches & poems differ.

If anyone runs into Margaret, please fill her in.

How does one prepare late-season peaches? The same as you would full-ripe-on seasonal ones. Perhaps, a tad less drippy-juicy, but delicious.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

In exceedingly hot weather does the poem shrink or expand?

The desert heats up; we slow down. Does the poem move into the minimal as a property of shade? Or, expand as languid & reflection?

About food, Ed’s salad is famous (infamous?) and magical as only the necessary is. The ingredients are slant rhymes perfect to the birthday celebration, the wheat-hued walls, the full moon’s signature which the pool captures. Happy Birthday, Larry. Thank you, Master chef, Ed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What poem does the graphical abstraction of a question inspire?

All marks on the page. What marks a sliver of silence?

Consider tomatoes (in the flesh) and basil (in the abstraction). Drizzle a sliced tomato perfect in ripeness with basil olive oil. What you don’t see, gives you pause to consider it by its absence. A kind of silence, wouldn’t you say.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How does a poem resonate with a listener?

Or is the question, why does a particular poem resonate with one listener and not the one beside her? Is the anatomy of the ear, universal? Is it a matter of physics -- sound/energy? Is it subject matter? Does this question matter?

Much the same can be said of food. Anatomy, physics, taste & the tasting. All matter.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How does the writing surface influence a poem?

The mechanics of creating. Do most poets favor screen or paper? One exclusively? If you used a different pen, how would the poem’s outcome differ?

Prepare a favorite food using the exact ingredients, proportions, and technique as usual. Say, soft boiled eggs. Cook in someone else’s kitchen. Is the taste the same?

Friday, September 17, 2010

What are the 500 favorite words of a poet?

See Dan Waber’s 500 Favourite Word project. See you in the Word Cloud.

Which of your favorite foods are also your favorite words?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How are sound, color and scent accomplished in a poem?

Words are sound awaiting activation. Timbre is color. What is the measure of scent? Is it seasonal? Is it topical?

Scent and color are inherent in food. And sound? Equally represented in the preparing, cooking, and the eating.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How does editing mature a poem?

The poet is smitten with its newborn. Love lies down with perspective. Time, patience, and trial/error required to appreciate the developing work.

How frequently does the mature palette return to toasted cheese sandwich w/tomato? Peanut butter w/jam always fresh/immediate, never usurped by the baroque.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How is poetry like mullein?

What’s mullein, you ask? Rosette-forming summer blooming plants which set up dramatic spikes with five-petaled, circular flowers. With age, the spikes take their twists & turns. Dramatic and beguiling. A narrative plot of shape? Shape recognizes; the physicality of a poem informs meaning. Twists accumulate as the plant matures, as gravity has its will.

I often wonder the impact of gravity on a poem. Perhaps, a later consideration.

Now, consider the shape of food – its unexpected & appreciated twists & turns. Once this was dubbed “architectural food.” Food/word – all is in construction. & the surprise.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How does altitude affect a poem?

Is a poem written differently from a plane? Is the poem read differently. To be put to the test this afternoon. Which is to ask, how will the Santa Fe landscape (especially the sky) influence the poems to be written – there.

Of food – luscious the spices. Sweet the anticipation.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Do sunflowers in a poem reference Van Gogh?

Which is to ask whether iconography of metaphor is universally understood and, across a culture, agreed.

Certainly, one could make that argument. Although, Gustave Caillebotte, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Diego Rivera, Gustave Klimt, Evelyn DeMorgan, and Bobs (Barbara) Cogill Haworth, among others, would beg to differ. My favorite contender is Joan Mitchell.

Now, do we have the fortitude to take on the rubrics of iconography and metaphor in cuisine?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Why does a perfect poem taste like a perfect peach?

Perfection does this to the mouth. And to the ear.

Try this:

slice the perfect peach
slice an heirloom tomato
chop fresh mint
cube robust feta
toss a semi-handful pine nuts
add twist of pepper
basil olive oil

serve in the perfect pasta bowl…. and next time add sliced fresh fig

Sunday, September 5, 2010

When is there too much labor in a poem?

Are epics by nature laborious? Perhaps, ballads. By contrast, poems under 50 words are breezy – a sorbet. Or, too precious in their stringency.

By the way, is there a school of crock pot poetry?

Friday, September 3, 2010

If a cat sees only shadow & motion, what does a poem see when it looks at the reader?

Some questions are questionable. The same with a poem. Mirror takes on mirror.

How does the tongue address such questions? Vietnamese food --myriad of side dishes, touches of chili and fire. Leaves to wrap up. Mint & basil, plenty. A perfect repast to consider conundrums.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How to celebrate the day after the book launch?

Read a new journal – Ambush.

Enjoy a celebratory dinner. Oysters, of course. Martinis to accommodate the poems: very dry very cold w/a twist NOT gluten free. Kiss the co-author.

Monday, August 30, 2010

At the core is poetry always visual?

Why? Because poetry is forged from language and language is visual. The obvious, calligraphy. Letters shape space.

What if, the poet uses a preponderance of vowel? Or has a predilection to upright letters (like “t” & “h”) or curves (mind your “p’s” & “b’s”). And of vowels, mostly curves.

What’s straightforward/what’s cursive or fanciful in food? Carrots & eggplant. Meatballs & shoestring potatoes.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Page poems aren't an accommodation of line only, are they?

Words accommodate shape/space. Sculptured. Sound. Architecture.

Food accommodates the necessary & unexpected. Activates taste buds.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What influences a poet's cache of frequently used words?

Other art forms

What references a cook’s repertoire?

See above. Also add “ing” to the first word on the list: thanks.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Is the ripe inescapable in a poem?

Intrinsically, does the poet reach for the seasonally ripe whether fruit/vegetable, length of light, and weather?

Food is necessary for the poet – energy & fodder. Have you noticed, this season peaches have been inspirational.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is sound a poem's plotless narrative?


Intrinsically, food is sound. In the preparation. In the taking.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Does the writing differ when a poet is pulling together a book?

Singular & plural. Writing an individual poem or working on a project.

Consider the signature dish vs. an entire meal. Ingredients don’t different. But the presentation does. Outcome, too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Does a poem establish a relationship with the reader?

When successful. What follows: affection/good will, instruction & wise counsel, healthy boundaries, the look within & beyond. A hardy seed beyond judgment or expectation.

Mouths & ears ripe with personal predilections. Some can’t abide okra or pretzel. Others revel. Regardless, conversation immanent. Clear windows.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Why do some poems end before they do?

What is it about the tangible weight an ending gives the poem?

Is it foundation? Or a well-paned window?

When figs are fresh, they are the perfect end to a meal, pared with cheese. As well as a swell beginning to an evening.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Does the poem truly come from a poet?

Or is the holder of the pen a rod for lightning or divination? Or the conveyance of gestation? Let’s assume a poem comes from a poet. Therefore, is a poem composed of a similar percentage of water (99+%)?

Of food fragile the egg & steadfast. Convenient container for the wait. Yellow, too, optimistic.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What were you thinking on the eve of publishing your first book of poetry?

What food did you prepare? With who was the picnic shared?

Poetry & food inseparable as only a circle.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday 13th. Auspicious. Is poetry inherently suspicious?

Perhaps, need for certain pen/particular journal. Time of day. Circumstance. Confluence of sky/stars. Geography: being home. Away.

How do you judge fruit without a taste? What is ripe without the mouth?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A poem is recognized by form, right?

A mirror recognizes a face by its changes, although the viewer may not.

A meal is taken by collaboration. What is form to food? Or food to form?

Monday, August 9, 2010

When the word isn't right, is the poem unfinished or waiting?

Stalled train. Is the journey derailed. What is temporary?

Dinner guests late. The meal won’t wait.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

What keeps poetry being poetry?

Is it the glue of voice? Symbol? Habit? Tangible mechanism or the invisible?

The meal remembered is more than food.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Like Cezanne's apples is a poem an approximation?

Speak of symbol, metaphor, of iconographic thumbprint. Cezanne, apple,red. All standing for in/out of self.

Think, rosemary. Remembrance approximating the harvester’s hand. And the cook’s.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Is poetry hopeful?

Made by human hand, of course, hopeful. Also, common & comedic.

In food, carrots are hopeful; potatoes, common. The comedic is grasped by Buddha’s hand. All of interest, though no fixings for suitable stew.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What % of poems fall below surface?

To rephrase, how is an iceberg like a typically fine poem?

Ah, the good meal is the tip of savored evening.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What if poetry were motorized? Winged?

You mean it isn’t?

It’s a fact. Food, too, travels by motor and by wing.

Monday, July 26, 2010

How does a poem work?

Is it mechanical? Levers, pulleys, engines?
It is skeleton with internal organs?
Does it age?
Is death part of its genetic framework?
It is mostly body? Mostly mind?

Are these artificial distractions?

About a meal, this, too, constructed, revised over time. The good kept. The not-so never attempted again.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Does the poem work?

What is signified by “work?” Heavy lifting? Cerebral shenanigans?

The meal offered (chili flakes added to mussel broth) – that worked. Add thanks to yum.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How many ways does a poem not ask a question?

Language is inherently question-making.

As creatures, it is logical to question our next meal. While waiting, we write.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Can you pinpoint the moment in a poem when you said, "I'll go with the poet?"

You may not understand, but you’re confident she does. Ready for a journey, you follow. Certainty and surprise.

Great bed-sisters for a meal. Color, taste, texture. Done with a deft hand or slight of.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Is pure page-poetry waning?

Unquestionably, performance, multi-media, cross-genre and hybrid are on the ascendant. By the way, what's a "pure" poem?

Poetry began as oral tradition.

Speaking of food and cuisine, migration and cross-mingling made a good thing better. Let's not fret; the table is set.

Friday, July 16, 2010

How do you retrieve a favorite poem?

mark in book/bent corner
a file/disk of favorites
ask a friend
ask a librarian

How do you find a new favorite?

How different is this from locating a favorite recipe or a soon to be?

All roads lead to poetry & food.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How are poems like wine & revolution?

Truth in wine. Truth in word.

Happy Bastille Day!

Tonight talking poetry with a good friend among wine/cheese/bread. Truth will be.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How many voices are in a poem?

Minimum of two – poet & reader. Sometimes poet & reader coincide.
Still two voices. Think of it as public & private.

Not sure why I remember this. At a dinner party a poet-friend gave voice to vegetables. One of her best performances, totally out of character and believable. Eggplant will never be the same. Consider, Georgia O’Keeffe’s small painting of the same. Think of my favorite Thai restaurant, Jitlada, and Chef Pai’s way with eggplant. Like I said, two voices.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Is there a poet for all times for you?

One whose work resonates with each reading. Whose poems never fail
to unfold a richness.

This, too, is personal: which cuisine never disappoints? Always nourishes.

Favorite poet. Favored food inseparable as line & taste.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

How does writing a poem relate to mowing the lawn?

Muscle memory. Routine. Editing as in line and grass.

As you improvise on a grilled fruit "salsa" of peach, plum, & fig (w/feta, mint, olive oil, pepper), consider cooking and its correspondence to the above.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

If a poem isn't articulated is it a poem?

Never spoken
Never read aloud
Never whispered
Left mute in a journal

Think of a meal never tasted
Never shared
Not one given a cause to be grateful

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

By nature is poetry visual?

The visual is read. Sound is vibration. Vibration registers as color. Add letters and you have a devilish palette for crafted intention & delicious accident.

Craft & accident, precisely shapes the good meal. How bright those tomatoes w/feta. Unabashed mint.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What is freedom to a poem?


Is food ever independent from the cook, from the mouth which praises.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Are poems written in response to a call for submissions different from ones which aren't?

Mind focuses to produce a time-specific product. And what of theme?

Invitation is the cook’s call to submit. Doorbell is her chance to deliver a loose interpretation on a self-directed theme.

Both actions satisfy a hunger.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Do poets favor a particular emotional register?

serene, bucolic
angry, angst-full
personal, intimate
cheerful, bouncy
distant, withdrawn
sad, melancholic
sentimental, romantic
hot, fiery

What corresponds with food? Take, for instance, chili peppers. Is it in the mouth of the beholder? Or those who have the stomach for it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Can a poem be devoid of story?

Narrative aside, sound is the universal story.

Which sounds of a meal does the mouth treasure? Oh! the stories behind those meals.

Monday, June 28, 2010

If you put off writing for an hour, how is the poem affected?

Time & word. Weight & shadow.

Words articulated approximate the weight of feather. Those unspoken carry the heft of brick.

Timing is everything with food, and always the weight of the cook's hand, evident.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Why is the poem easiest to memorize not the one you re-read?


Oh stumble and be happy.

Why, some restaurants turned up high. Some immobilized on ice.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Is a poet happiest when she is writing a poem or when she reads that poem?

Process & product.
Chicken & egg.

Speaking of eggs, hard-boil a few. Add sardines, parsley, twist of pepper, tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil. Augment with bright sun & sand. Improvise on a loaf of bread. Now, write that.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Is the length of poem affected by Equinox and Solstice?

Does the lengthening day require a long poem or short poem with long lines?

In winter is a poem's long lines to warm? Or are they minimal to mimic and sear the cold?

Of course, food is seasonal. Season being somewhere all the time. Winter requires soup, stew, and potatoes. Although Salad Nicoise makes keen use of spuds in any season.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

When you call what you write poetry and the audience hears it as prose, which is it?

Is poetry ever devoid of prose?

Is prose rid of poetry?

Is one a subset of the other?

Are both a function of form?

Consider cereal. If you're an adult you no longer call it only a breakfast food.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why is this poem different from every other poem

you've written on the same subject?

Consider, salmon prepared the same way (roasted w/mango, tomato and cilantro salsa) shared with the same friends tastes different each time. Tongue & ear fit for the part; performance by nature is rather fluid.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Can poetry keep you from becoming a grammar outlaw?

It’s not only prose which adheres (to)
logic & conventional grammar. Grammar, after all, is traffic sign & road marker. Which is to reference the craft of a map-maker with a fine ear. Perhaps, with a dollop of play.

A dollop of pesto upon which sits rounds of roasted eggplant stuffed with ground chicken. Subtle, yet rich & precise. Not a morsel of ambiguity….well. In the end, how it all breaks.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

At its core, is a poem the most practical little beastie?

A nest of need.

Saying what needs to be said.
Saying what you never knew needing saying.
Hearing what you never expected you needed.

Food is the edible form of poetry. Of course.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What do you pair with a pear poem?

A pair of eyeglasses and a glass bowl.

Do you pare pears? I don’t. Prefer the pair of textures –slightly grainy and smooth. While you're whittling or not whittling the pear, pick up Robert Kelly's pear poem.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How do you respond to a reader-friend when they say, "I just don't get poetry?"

What's to get?
The same you get from fiction. Well, somewhat. Sometimes. Both visual & auditory rewards.

Regarding food, I don't get cream. Except with ice. And of course, with Stevens' "The Emperor of Ice Cream."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When is poetry out of season?

The same is said of weather as it was most recently an uncommonly hot San Francisco weekend.

Leads me to ponder the unseasonably hot poem with a chilled beverage.

Of course, on the meditation of seasons, food has much to offer.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Can a poem be too well crafted or too grand?

Think of a garden, tended but not overly manicured. Tolerance for a weed or two.

Or food not too fussy, not too precious. The mouth/the eye relish nourishment and the pleasantly unexpected.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

How is a poem like a cat?

Does not come when summoned.
Sees shadows.
Keep life simple.
Knows the full measure of play. Of naps.
And, oh so mysterious.

About food, my cat is insistent & particular.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When is a poem truly abandoned?

When the poet doesn't show up, the work isn't done.

When the cook decides not to; abandonment being so different than marinade.

So, what's cooking with you, poetry-wise?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

How is a poetry festival like a farmers' market?

Everything in full swing. Assortment. Colorful. Fragrant. Savory. Pungent.

Meditative vegetables & the hawking of wares.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What can a poem best memorialize?

Epic aside, the simple observed simply does nicely. Think plum. Think wheelbarrow.

Holiday feasts, take note. Every Thursday is a thanksgiving when the grand minimal is invoked: oysters. Get splashy, top-off with steamed mussels.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Can you imagine writing a poem in a soundless, white room?

Imagine reading that piece. Silently, of course.

Never could I imagine cooking with a palette of only one color. Without music.
My mouth would be swayed by my eyes. Happens sometimes with a poem, too. Pity.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How many people are thinking of a Mary Oliver poem?

Besides Mary Oliver?

How many cooks are relishing fava beans, mangoes, and the advent of stone fruit? No need to ask why glorious intersections are seamless.

Monday, May 24, 2010

In which 3 ways is poetry time-sensitive?

Seasonal. Influenced by nature and literary fashion.
Age. Of the poet. Of the times.
Experience. The rock-sold daily and the imagination.

A cook is timer-tethered. By


Tonight, serve risotto classico with a sprig of rosemary around which is a ring of the ripest diced tomatoes w/roasted shallots.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Does a poet always have someone in mind?

Is it the nature of poetry to be human – even the most minimal of work, the most abstract language?

I’ve heard it said that every cook cooks with someone in mind. This my grandmother told me. Also, “A meal never lies.”

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Is the poet more like an architect or a builder?


fine finisher?

When the poem does not feel of being constructed, then, is the poet a weaver? A seamstress?

Poet & cook. Do they intersect when they are at their most painterly? Or when practicing riffs? By the way, what menu scores the page.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Is poetry inherently multi-media?

When does poetry most resemble video art? Performance poetry, recorded? YouTube-ing it?

Food like poetry has always been essential as well as entertainment. Now,cooking is hot. Multimedia, print & online. Cook as poet, personality, seer,and bard. Pass the herb-roasted salmon with honey mango/heirloom tomatoes (more than 2 kinds), and pinenuts. Please.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What 3 things does a poet have in common with a musician?


A signature style gets better in the doing.
The 4th being hunger.

Same can be said of a cook – pacing & pairing, practice, improv, appetite. Now, add a dash of luck.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Do poets have a disproportionate amount of words swirling around their heads?

Or feet? Because, you know, meter. Are there correspondences with other “professions?” Scientist with formulas; construction worker, her nails?

I know this to be true firsthand with cooks. My fingers attract stone fruit (especially mangos, plums & pluots), salmon, shellfish, pears, beets, fennel, and fresh herbs. And a particular woman,
with/without her apron.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Is Ill-Performed Poetry Usually Badly Written?

Can performance and page be separated?
Perception is personal. The body either chirps/coos & hums or crimps & cringes. Sometime response is fashion-driven, bowing to culture or literary stock. Then, there’s the poet’s reputation.

Certain foods have moments of being chic & trendy. Some, inherently abhorrent to one mouth or another. Others just get the job done – every time – without fanfare. No grandstanding. Think, carrot. Think onion.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is the blank page a spider's web for poetry?

Or venus flytrap?
Either, necessary & yummy.

Remember, food is food.
Real & metaphorical.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What does the poet say when she doesn't have the right word?

Or any word?

What does the cook do when she doesn’t have the necessary ingredients?
Improv and take-out.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What can a poet never have too much of?


The cook can never have too many olive dishes. Also, a trio of lemons
at the ready, preferably, one w/stem. Such, symbol & harmony.

Monday, May 10, 2010

How do poems fall?

Some poems fall away like a rhetorical question.
Some keep voice insistent.
Depends upon season & attitude.

Food, too. Are you thinking chocolate chip cookies because yesterday
was Mother's Day?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Is there one question poets seek?

Or flee?

Cooks are like that with durian and okra. Diners, too, have a love (or repulsion) of organ meats.

"What does this have to do with rhyme?" you ask.
What does daytime reason with poetry?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Precisely. What is minimal poetry?

How is it fed?

word count
stick-frame skeleton
bare-bones narrative
obsession with space?

Is it a better bed-woman of lyric or sparse story?

Consider a minimal meal, prepared by the minimal cook. Does the seesaw drop in favor (no matter largess of season) of limited ingredients, simplicity of menu, speed of preparation?

Truly, is an orange more minimal than artichoke? These considerations: do they sweeten, do they savor a meal.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

To who or what are you addressing your question?

To the poem? Or the poet?
Did you expect an answer?

By the way, what were you asking?

Can we extricate a cook from the menu? Or garlic from hummus?
Perhaps, best question the amount, not the ingredient.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What are the 4 seasons of poetry-making?


Do we need a period? Or exclamation. Should the question (mark) be summoned.

What sustains with/through time? Read another’s work – lots of. Listen. Sound nourishes. Is exquisite.

Of food? Perhaps, this quartet: land & sea, harvest & fallow. Largess invites the extra: gratitude. Folded napkin.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Is editing what a poet must do

to hear what she really meant to say?
Didn't know she was saying?

Are leftovers reassembled, a cook’s method of editing?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How many undocumented references go into making a poem?

What has been/will be



told to
longed for

joyful failure
and play

Could be….

Now ask yourself,
how many eyes stir a stew?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's the deal, poetry & fashion?

Not the poet’s garb. How a line is dressed. Undressed.

fancy or plain

Style comes/style goes rarely speaks
(of Michelangelo). April is (such a) responsible (month).

Cuisine, too. All of the above. Mac & cheese. Meatloaf & mashed. Butter/cream or minimal & raw.

Remember: candles never go out
of fashion.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why mourn a forgotten line of poetry?

Or a poet: under-appreciated, undiscovered, forgotten?

Language knows. Remembers. Consciousness reconfigures.

Read once a line of poetry is praise plenty.

Of food: order & abandonment as in ingredients left out or dismissed. Makes a dish something else. That ingredient reconfigured used at another time to advantage. Smiling cook and happy those around the table. Like particular poems within earshot, joyful.

Friday, April 16, 2010

What does editing a poem & recycling have in common?

Where do outtakes of lines of poetry end up?

Scraps. Filled/crossed-out pages. Appropriated ink. Accounted for.

A list-poem waiting to happen?

Scraps. Of food. Compost.

Or salvaged? (personally speaking) Leftovers. Enjoyed. As in, put to good use. Mulch?
Lunch, never better.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Incorrigible poetry. What's that?

If one separates "incorrigible" and "poetry" by a comma, what then?

Simple & elegant, an appointment is the comma.

Sorbet appoints a meal. Refreshes. Pacing of...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Is poetry competition, career, or a calling?




The simple/the fresh nourishes.

A poet I know says, “Words are the ultimate spice.”

Friday, April 9, 2010

Why does a poet return to a particular palette

of sound?

Why does the cook gravitate to a particular combination of color & taste?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Is waiting for the poem to occur, a poet's false gold?

Wait for (yes)

wait not
for (or upon) inspiration

Right now, write or have no supper

Speaking of supper…

From market to mouth, taste is in the doing.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Does editing a poem make words deciduous?

Fall away. In Spring blooms shed as is nature. The deciduous celebrates space. Is this akin to the minimal in poetry?

In a meal conversation is bud, bloom and story. A revealing of space. Of taste. Texture, too.
And the story, continually edited.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Is poetry a subtext of the personal?

Does the poet write to understand herself in each revision? Is poetry mirror-making?

Easter. And what construct is any holiday? Reveals/reinvents. No chunks of this/that. Small plates, bright colors, fragrant as hand-picked rosemary.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Is it too late to learn Latin?

Do words have a time limit?
Does each line of poetry have a predestined length?

Fixed & flexible. Fast or slow. Food dictates the meal.

Friday, April 2, 2010

What hunger does poetry satisfy?

Hunger is always personal.

Which words feed hunger?

What food, poetic?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What are the 3 visages of a poet?


Sit down (please) in the room the builder built. Eat the food the farmer planted & harvested. Then, the cook improvises. What outcome?

The fork/spoon poised satisfies hunger. Which food appoints? What music goes with...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Does a poem write itself?

This blog did. Sipping Good Earth tea. Teabag says, “ You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.” -- John Adams 1735-1826.

Found poem. Found friend.

Found food? Leftovers (usually in the plural). Sauté cooked rice, garlic, cherry tomatoes, several thimbles of white wine, chopped spinach, of course, pepper. Add to something that has been leftover. What is the connection with editing? Outtakes & fragments.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Does a poet write until a poem is perfect?

What’s perfect?

One definition says, “It is finished.”

No answers; just the work.

Babette’s Feast in a flurry of perfect, finished off many gourmands.

I prefer simple:

Ocean Beach
white wine
bread w/cheeses
@ perfect temperature
lunch meat/Prosciutto
one addition
(not on the food menu)
makes perfect

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Is personal experience mulch for a poem?

The past is always present. Mind churns it over.

The body, never far from hunger.

Breakfast is dawn arriving on a plate. Nutty cheese, sliced apple and bread. Dab of rough-cut marmalade. Small notebook/pen. Dream, fodder for…

Friday, March 26, 2010

How many poems can be forged from a finite number of words?

Some questions are riddles. Forged from no-matter.

So, what’s for dinner? Now there’s a question worthy of poetry, invitation, necessity. Limited to the contents of the larder. Like poetry, a matter for play, for interpretation.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why is a familiar word suddenly unfamiliar?

Why does a turn of phrase turn alien?

Of course, for some, poetry might as well be extraterrestrial.

Which foods are weird, otherworldly?


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

To question is not to doubt a poem, right?

A poem never doubts itself, saves that for the poet.
Thus, a seesaw: poet & cook/poem & ingredients.

Put aside cultural difference/skeptical mouth. Pizza is without a doubt, unquestionable.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What is the pure Spring poem?

Bucolic? 27 shades of wet-green? Not necessarily. Spring is jumble. Hands-down, subterranean revolution. Eruption & feast for eye/nose. Totally, messy.

Equivalent in food? Lots of dishes/cutting surfaces. Field greens, tangy goat cheese, roasted beets, roasted almonds, cherry tomatoes, nasturtium. Fresh herbs of the snipper’s choice.

Snipping a poem comes...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Which way does the question fall?

Wind blows. Seed taps into happenstance. Thus, a question is both root & leaf. Like a poem. Direction of the leaning evident by circumstance. By perspective.

Which food is evidence of renewal? Bulb & seed. I’m partial to fennel. Try this: roasted fennel, shallots, tomatoes. Go wild, add marinated figs dressed w/olive oil & (you guessed it) fennel seed. Which is to say, double fennel.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

When a particular word saturates a poet's work, is this iconographic shorthand?

A word stands for. For example “crow” or “cypress.” To what means? To which end? The personal expressed in image/metaphor. Is the reader brought close or held at arm’s length?

With food, this may be construed as the cook’s “signature dish.” Signature style? Consistency and matter of taste.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What inspires the question in a poem?

From the get go, assume every poem imbeds a question.
From which limb, which organ of the poet did the question spring?
A question (explicit or implicit) is sufficient. The answer is the umbrella you misplaced.

Which foods feed question-making? A split dish with a friend. Two glasses. Wine.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

When is the poem finished?

When the poet says, “Enough.” She forgot to say, “For now.”

Sublime, the fragment with a look/feel of the unfinished, it sounds exquisitely complete.

When is a meal incomplete?

When food is not tasted. Is not savored.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Is craft best expressed through the two-headed poet?

The skilled poet meticulously guides the reader to think/to feel what the poet intends.

At another time the same poet pushes the reader off a precipice.

Crafting fall & flight, ground comes to no conclusion.

Are there two-headed foods? Creme brulee, comes to mind, with its crust and custard.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

How do you select the next book of poetry to read?

How do you decide what’s for dinner?


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Does a great line of poetry turn your body into a tuning fork?

By the way, what is a great line of poetry? Is this (like so much) a matter of personal taste?

Mmmmm. Which food consistently makes me hum? Steamed mussels & garlic w/a glass of red. Particular company. Yes.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How much is too much explication?

Explication is a tried/true way to dissect craft and measure underpinnings & conveyance of a poem.

I prefer savoring whole cloth, slow disrobing of inexplicable silence.

Which foods slowly disrobe taste? Try squash soup – satiny, savory.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What are the 3Ps of a poetry reading?


Are poems inherently personal? If so, where in those seemingly a-personal poems is the poet lurking?

At a public reading, how much influence does persona exert? Some poets don’t talk much between poems. Patter turned off, but not persona.

Some, ask that applause be held to the end. Delay is measured by distance.

No doubt, food stirs appetite. In a restaurant with an exposed kitchen you can watch, but you can’t cook. You see the flame, but can’t feel the fire.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What if Emily lived in the current age of social networking?

Dickinson, of course. Single name is shorthand for timelessness, fame/infamy, familiarity. Strange to think of Miss Dickinson cohabiting with Facebook, Twitter, or blogging. Perhaps, not. Digital media, though, has done her proud. A couple of my favorites:

Poetry Foundation

Flash Rosenberg

And yours? Please post a comment.

Timeless food? Some insist on chocolate. I say cheese, please.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Does a poet write to express what she knows or what she doesn't?

Toss a dime
Still a dime
Whole dime

Consider, hole foods: donuts, bagels, Cheerios, cannoli, swiss cheese, Lifesavers, pretzels, onion rings, and lotus root (sliced). More thinking needed on the holy empty.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why is poetry so ripe for anthropomorphizing?

Consider, the poem. The same words in the exact order read by native speakers are heard, perceived, and interpreted differently. Poetry is translation personalized to the max. Of course, nature is fair game, too. Stones don’t hold the same weight for everyone. Fog, also.

The language of food is a personal interpretation of taste. I’m thinking of anchovies.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How are walking and reading connected?

Beside being gerunds, they connect by moving us toward and through image and sound. As if exercising some form of inherent punctuation, a physical object invites us to linger – to see and re-see. Words, being read, have as their locomotion (not in every language, of course) a left to right destination, propelling us along a straight line of sound. Of course, in poetry the straight can curve, wobble and/or stop, rather abruptly.

Along the way – pavement and print -- much to see. Much to hear.

Consider food in the context of walking and reading. I walk to market on the way to the library. I read a lot of c-books (cook & children’s). Children’s picture books are a journey and meal onto themselves. An on-the-spot picnic.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What is known by the way a line of poetry ends?

When I heard Joni Mitchell’s "Blue", I become smitten with enjambment. Not saying I’m opposed to end-stopping or caesura. I perceive a connection between enjambment and seasonal fruit. The largess of the ripe is akin to the run-on line.

Speaking of which, kumquats have hit the local markets, clamshells of tiny setting suns. When kumquats are fresh, there’s no stopping eating them in their entirety – skin, pith, seed. Isn’t the sound of the words (kumquat/enjambment) a meal in and of itself?

Try this:
kumquats, cherry tomatoes, marinated Black Mission figs w/fennel seed, almonds, Bulgarian feta on spinach. Drizzle olive oil from the marinated figs. Especially good-to-go on the color. Now, listen to "Blue."

Friday, February 19, 2010

What are 3 good reasons not to write?

A hint: the same is true for not reading. ……guess they aren’t worth mentioning.

Let’s explore the positive. Consider 3 good reasons to cook.
1. aroma
2. color
3. taste
Add a 4th: feed a friend. Good night.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Do coffee drinkers write different poems than tea sippers?

Absurd, yes. A circumference where caffeine and herbal overlap. Take for instance, edgy & meditative.

Regarding tea, consider Lapsang Souchong, a caffeine buzz rivaling coffee. Consider, the minimalist poem being as empty as a meditation on a precipice. Being as full as.

How a simple meal replete with conversation manifests a circle.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Do you take your poems for a walk?

Feet were the measure of rhythm eons before Wordsworth did his on-the-hoof composing. How did he remember so many words? Perhaps, Dorothy was scribe. On the best of walking, feet-down it’s Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlush: A History of Walking (Penguin, 2001).

Back on track and ready to roam, wear comfy shoes, have pen/paper at the ready. Pay attention to your breath. Pay attention to your leg-length. Perhaps, the latter is called stride. Perhaps, it is music of a line break.

Remember to pack a peanut butter/jam sandwich. “Yum, yum,” as my friend is wont to say.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Do we need a reason to read (Wm) Blake?

The traditional day of hearts/roses coincided with the Lunar New Year. All week flowering cherry, plum & quince have offered a fragrant roar to welcome The Tiger.

Major holidays abound with festive food. I love spaghetti and meatballs for its straight-forward, all-season, Jersey-kind-of-attitude. Simple & necessary. Like cats, like poetry.

Monday, February 15, 2010

How do poems taste?

Bitter, sweet, sour, salty, and, more recently, savory are the Western options. Does each word have an inherent taste or it is in the aggregate --phrase, sentence. Does a writer develop a particular taste palette? Add smell to taste, you arrive at flavor. Perhaps, it’s opt to speak of the flavor of a poem. Then again, perhaps, this is too personal and best left to an individual’s oral cavity.

By the way, do you think ears taste sound?

I love savory -- as taste, as herb, as word, as sound.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Can a poem be a-political?

A fit topic for this day of romantic (lower case) love, awash in red with hearts/flowers plenty. Consider, if you have your hands with loving intent on another person or animal, how likely are you to pull a trigger, detonate a bomb, issue an unkind word? So, love poems move toward peace and are, therefore, political. Collective breath is politics.

What to taste today? A body desires. A body is food.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Does meaning dwell in punctuation?

Punctuation imparts meaning, so the sentence says. A nifty container for sentence as well as phrase and fragment, a poem is a vehicle for perceived punctuation. Line break, extra spaces, stanzas, placement of words on page choreograph sound.

The larger issue being, language dwells in possibility called breath.

Now, of food! Sorbet cleanses the palate. Which food is most like a question?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Does the perceived gender of the author influence your reading, interpretation, enjoyment of the work?

Take for example a gender-neutral name, either initials or a first name that is both female and male (like “Kit”).

Approximately 2x a month through an online poetry group, I digitally meet “sparrow” (no first/last name with email address). “sparrow” emails me, “Kit, I poked around your blog. You’re a woman! I thought you were a Massachusetts attorney.” Mmmmm. What does that say about my poetry – tone, subject, line breaks, heart and sinew?

Now, I take a bird-level view of “sparrow” and ascribe an amazing vocabulary and wit to this passerine. If you pin me down, I assume “sparrow” is male having read the poems circulated to the group. I share this with a poet friend. She’s sure “sparrow” is a woman based on the email address. Mmmmm.

Via email this evening “sparrow” confesses gender. I’ll leave that in the nest, for the time being. Of being, everything matters and is of.

Mmmmm, now, on to food. Yin/yang. Hot/cold. Is there gender-neutral food? Perhaps, toast. Yes, definitely, toast. Hold the jam.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How much does a reader's state of mind/being influence her "enjoyment" of reading a poem?

I’m a fan of Heather McHugh. So I relished the luxury of reading her latest, Upgraded to Serious (Copper Canyon, 2009). I couldn’t connect with the poems. Why? Took it personally. Did she no longer want me, as a reader? I waited a week and re-read. In the 7 day interval, it’s safe to say her poems didn’t change one iota on the page. So, I shifted. Glad of it. Yup, Heather McHugh is one poet who continues to inspire me. Read Upgraded to Serious and, if necessary, again. You’ll be well fed.

Makes me think of publishers. But that for another discussion.

Re-read, re-write, re-discover – what’s the continuum/connection of dish & poem? Why is it, sometimes comfort food fails to satisfy? I remember disliking pizza the first time I tasted it as a kid (yes, strange child). I got over it on a subsequent try. An ongoing love affair ever since. On the other hand, I have always loved bananas. Apples and cheese, too, I might add.

Monday, February 1, 2010

See that woman rolling a suitcase? How many poems is she hauling?

Admit it. Words are migratory. They travel. They hitchhike. Cross boundaries as do bird, seed, spore. They multiply.

Makes me want to pack a picnic. Traveling food to accommodate as many as a blanket seats. Perhaps, I mean just two.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Where's the final stopover for unfinished poems?

Abandoned lines. Torn/discarded. Lost in files. Journals never re-read are language crypts. Consider: can a fragment be a poem? On this, Sappho has an opinion.

What to serve? Tapas, a meal in fragments. Try: garlicky olives; selection of non-wimpy cheeses; sautéed mushrooms; white beans & tuna w/marjoram; marinated figs; garlic shrimp; a spread of chickpeas, roasted beets, olive oil, garlic. Of course, If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (Anne Carson, trans.).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What is the correspondence between blogging and this much rain?

Water-saturated San Francisco is visibly greening. Slant of rain on window -- eyebrows, diacritical marks. Each room feels like a library. A consequence of rain is fragrance.

Make soup, of course. Rough-cut vegetables. Plenty of garlic. Fistfuls of spinach added just before serving. Bowlfuls. Crusty bread. Company. Conversation not about weather. Perhaps, poetry. Yes, poetry.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why is conversation the aphrodisiac of aphrodisiacs?

Talking over the slurp of oysters. Mmmmm. Was intimacy ever so public, ever so poetic? Well then, consider laughing as the echo of conversation which silence will pare to a delicate comfort.

Remember this on your birthday. Pair this with whomever and revel.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

As a child, do you remember which book made you say, "I will learn to read?"

For me it was Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (translated by Edward FitzGerald, Random House, 1947). The color illustrations and gilded borders were nothing like I was accustomed to growing up in a small, northern New Jersey town. No reference points except a wanting to experience.

Nothing like your first book; nothing like a Jersey tomato.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Do you trust, can you follow, are you drawn into a cookbook which does not have color photos of at least a few of the recipes?

Which is to ask -- in our minds do words exist without color, shape, even taste? Are there words which are not springboards to silence? Can such words create a poem? I’d like to hear from you; please email a comment. Thanks.

Returning to cooking, Mark Bittman has authored two brilliantly creative tomes, sans color illustration of any of the dishes. I taste and see every recipes as I thumb through:

How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food, Wiley Publishing, Inc,1998.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

If no question is being considered, can a poem happen?

Subtle and/or close to invisible yet an inquiry, essential. Answer isn’t the destination. Allowing a question to be is comfort food.

Try this: sautéed carrots (almost caramelized) in olive oil with garlic, to which you add roasted walnuts, fresh rosemary, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. Always have olives on hand.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reading the headlines, is it monstrous to write a quiet poem or suggest a picnic?

Are poems ever devoid of the personal, the political, or far from food?

Feed the stranger so she becomes a friend.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why is January 12 auspicious for poets & lovers of poetry?

Begins with a birthday. Dan Waber’s, to be exact. Dan tells it best.

44 today, and I've been doing a lot of thinking about root causes.
I declare January 12th to be International Buy a Book of Poetry Day
Buy a book of poetry today. Buy it for yourself or as a gift. Pass along the word. Celebrate every January 12 with poetry book-buying.

Paper Kite Press Studio & Gallery
Naissance and
Dan Waber's digital doings

OK, you’re reading this post late. The first year you get one day’s grace period.
Once you buy your book, let me know by posting a comment on this blog.

MMMM! What food is celebratory for a birthday? Well haiku, the 6 year old kitty recently celebrated his birthday with this menu:

haiku’s menu

Natural Value: pate style chicken dinner
Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance
San Francisco’s finest tap water and treats

Friend’s menu


roasted onions
roasted carrots
curried almonds
green olives with zealous garlic, bay leave & thyme


tomato, persimmon, cilantro
snap peas and mushroom
wild rice with apple and dried fruit (roasted walnuts, optional)
roasted beets dressed with orange (goat cheese, optional)
bean (not-green) with roasted peppers and TBA


Herb-crusted salmon
Baked tofu


purrs and your company
cheeses & marinated figs with fennel
birthday cake by Aunt Pat

Monday, January 11, 2010

When the song ends, is the poem finished?

Or is the poem in the happening stage?

This assumes words are energy – sound, color, vibration. Right now, where are you and your poem on the color wheel?

Most times, I cook to the sound of Andrea Bocelli. Often this happens:


2 Fuyu persimmons or more: peeled & sliced
walnuts, roasted
rosemary (fresh)
pepper to taste
lemon olive oil
asparagus, steamed
rice, cooked
spinach, uncooked
sliced raw mushrooms

to cooked rice
add lemon olive oil, rosemary
as rice cools
add walnuts, asparagus, persimmon
add pepper to taste
mix well

cover serving plate with spinach
arrange sliced mushrooms along rim
add rice mixture (above) in center of plate
drizzle with additional lemon olive oil

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Is “and” so powerful a word that it makes an implausible comparison, plausible?

Consider, the identical length of a sunset moving from a split of light to none and the tongue letting go of the taste of brine from a raw oyster.

Contently, I surrender to travel, food and art. Jan Steen’s Girl Eating Oysters at the Mauritshuis.

Recipe enough and, oh yes, consider, the uitsmijter. The latter led me to a journey of cooking for friends.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Are words the carapace of silence?


Regarding food and silence, sipping green tea comes closest, I think. What falls away, leaves.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How many notebooks were begun within the first three days of January 2010?

Makes me think of snow. Paper feels different with ink upon it. Bird tracks and ruts. When a notebook is filled and/or abandoned, how many poems, like the black wrought iron arms of a patio chair, peek through snow?

Makes me think of ingredients which conceal and then reveal. For instance, flavored olive oil. I particularly like Sciabica’s rosemary, basil, orange, and lime olive oils. Use creatively. Use daily.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Where do words go when writing stops?

Please, explain the physics of an echo.

I reckon 83% of my poems are written in the kitchen. Garlic and curry: smells are the equivalent of a word’s echo.

Try curry almonds: melt 1-2 T butter, add to 1-1 -1/2 cups almonds and 1-2 T curry. Roast at 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. Turn a few times. Eat out of hand, add to salads or to an appetizer plate with roasted onions. Enjoys the company of roasted beets, too. What music have you been listening to?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Do real poets read at open mics?


Longer answer: 21 of them did at the Gallery Café Reading Series this evening. From page to performance poet – lyric, political, satirical, narrative, experimental, and hybrid. When it works, an open mic is a vibrant community of varied voices – good readers, keen listeners. Much to be said for democracy.

Paring food with democracy, I think of the onion. Simple, yet elegant especially when roasted. Slice, drizzle with olive oil, roast at 450 degrees until caramelized (about 30-40 minutes). Stir a few times. Serve at room temperature. A fine voice on an appetizer tray.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What are the dimensions of a short poem?

Is the short poem defined by:

number of lines
length of line/number of words
ratio of silence to sound
subject matter
the number of seconds it takes to read at an open mic (26 seconds)?

Can a poem be one word? Probably

Footnote to 1/2/10 on beets.
Best served at room temperature. Roast more than you need – they keep well, and your friends will love you.

Beets have no concept of boundaries, no concept of what a line is. Pomegranates, too.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What exactly is a line?

Happy New Year!

Let me introduce you to 2 of the finest contemporary poets
I know working in the Bay Area. Actually, graphic artists.

Susan Black

Liz Hack

Each in her unique voice blends the sparse and the spiritual to create a lush silence. Hear for yourself.

While you ponder “what exactly is a line,” be good to yourself. Roast a couple of beets in foil (450 degrees for 30-45 minutes). Peel, slice, add feta cheese (I prefer Bulgarian style), a twist of pepper, drizzle with olive oil, top with a fresh herb of your choice. Get fancy: roast a handful of almonds or walnuts and add a few segments of a seedless orange.