Weekend Reading – The Hungry Ear and More

A Good Read:

The Hungry Ear
Poems of Food & Drink
Edited by Kevin Young


Straight out of the gate, I’m enamored with the work of Kevin Young largely because he is an American poet and because one of his poems is about okra. One of mine is too.

In the Hungry Ear, Young has created an anthology of 158 poems about food and drink. On the cover it reads, “When read aloud, the best poems provide a particular joy for the mouth. Poems about food make these satisfactions explicit and complete”. Perhaps that is the magic of this = that food, while oft enjoyed on its own, becomes a meal when shared with others. And while curling up with a bit of Naomi Shihab Nye or Ted Koosier is soothing, when read aloud, it can become a sharing. Yes, the relationship begins to cultivate and the memory is stamped somewhere for more than one of us to remember.

The best thing about a book of poetry, and this one is no exception, is that you can turn to the next poem in a brief spurt of minutes. Kevin Young offers a robust menu for a variety of tastes spanning from the stark reality of Billy Collins to a Meditation at Lagunitas by Robert Hass. Curl up, read aloud and best yet, pass the book around a dinner table in order to embrace that delivery does matter.

Good Food and Poetry Blogs:

Hands down, one of my favorite blogs in the world is Eat this Poem. Nicole elegantly combines these two loves of mine into a recipe for total fulfillment. Just take a look at this lovely combination of Pablo Neruda (swoon) with a crusty bread recipe meant to sop up soup and tears. Ode to Bread is just one example of Nicole’s eloquence with both photography and writing.

And once each day, I received a quiet post from poetrying. It’s always welcome and a bit mysterious. No “About” section. Comments are closed.

In Other Poetry News:

Hellogiggles found 5 videos from one or more poetry slams that capture amazing tales of quirks and schisms in real life. My personal favorite of this group is Neil Hilborne’s poem “OCD”. The sad tale of a relationship unraveling leaves me with hope and Lily Myer’s Shrinking Woman is a tail that ought to be heard by women everywhere.

How are you incorporating poetry into your weekend?

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  1. I like the sound of this book. Thanks for this lovely post! 🙂

  2. Jill Faber

     /  April 25, 2015

    On an exquisite spring early morning here in the Sonoran Desert I am drawn to Mary Oliver’s poetry–and her passion for the wonder of every single movement or sound in a garden. Thank you for introducing me to The Hungry Ear which I will order immediately.

    • Ahh yes, Mary Oliver. The way that she takes the routine and ordinary and gives it the significance and halo that it deserves is remarkable, isn’t it?

  3. Like Jill, I love Mary Oliver, but also Seamus Heaney, Linda Pastan, David St. John and Derek Mahon, who read a poem I have always loved this morning on the radio. And I’m leaving out Tess Gallagher and Philip Larkin. I don’t read nearly as much poetry as I do fiction and it’s because I re-read poetry. It comes back to you in layers and revelation. I could wax eloquent about okra myself and may try that recipe this summer. I’ll be planting it again! Thanks for writing about poetry!

    • It’s the final week of National Poetry Month – something that I’ve attempted to honor each year.

  4. One of my favorite poetry books as a teen also used food to entice ~ reflections on a gift of watermelon pickle. An excerpt, “How to Eat a Poem” by Eve Merriam:

    Don’t be polite
    Bite in.
    Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that may run down your chin.
    It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.

    • Love it Nancy! Those words could be used to describe the initial taste of so many seasonal fruits and vegetables.

  5. I, too, am a big fan of Nichole’s. Paulette Licitra’s Alimentum, the Literature of Food, (now an online journal) contains many wonderful food poems, menu poems and recipe poems. (alimentumjournal.com)

    • I just checked out Alimentum and I love the recipe poems! Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. I love the sound of this book. How lovely to combine poetry with food. If only we’d studied food poetry at school – I might have paid more attention xx

  7. In reply to your last reply to my comment on your blog, I don’t have a favourite poet. It’s been a long time since I studied poetry and now I seldom read poetry unless it’s a Bloggers own words 🙂

    • Bet we can entice you with a bit of food poetry. This very cool site Alimentum that Nancy mentioned has recipe poems!

  8. Food poetry–talk about bringing together good things!


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