On Poetry Day (7 May) a Menu of Poems called ‘Flow’ was distributed throughout Irish hospital wards, waiting rooms and other healthcare settings for patients, visitors and staff to enjoy. You can see the menu at www.poetryireland.ie
This got me thinking about serving poetry as food. Poetry as something you take in on a daily basis and that sustains you. Some of it good and solid and healthy, and sometimes some that is light and sweet, or heavy and probably not the best thing to have at that time.
There are a good number of poems about food, but that is not what we are dealing with in this prompt. There are also some well known poems about eating poetry.
One that is often anthologized and used in schools is "How To Eat a Poem" by Eve Merriam.
Don't be polite.Also well known is "Eating Poetry" by Mark Strand, which appeared on this year's National Poetry Month poster and begins:
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.
You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth.
For there is no core
to throw away.
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry...
But what I am more interested in for this month's prompt is what Galway Kinnell does in his poem "Blackberry Eating."
Maybe the Galway Hospital triggered the Kinnell connection, but in his poem we have him first being quite literal in his eating -
I love to go out in late September- and then something else happens. The blackberries, with their "black art" become words, if not poems.
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
and as I stand among themThe prompt this month is poetry as food - poems that explore how we consume poetry, what it gives us, and may or may not contain references to actual foods.
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry-eating in late September.
With holidays and such at year's end, I'm sure you will have more than enough foods prompting you.
The submission deadline for this prompt is January 10, 2016.