Inside the Poetry Kitchen

Another late blog this week – but it has been a busy one – including running a poetry workshop at the Landulph Festival of Music and Art.

As one of the organisers noted the Landulph Festival has been running for ten years and I have been associated with this festival for about eight years, ever since poetry was brought into the mix, however, this was the first time that I have run a poetry workshop there.

I chose The Poetry Kitchen as my title as food is such a superb metaphor for so many other things and as I taught ‘food tech and cookery’ for a number of years it seemed appropriate. I delved into the poetry collection ‘Eating Your Cake and Having It’ edited by Ann Gray ( a wonderful poet in her own right) for some  juicy examples, sprinkled in a few of my own and stirred plenty of other ingredients to inspire into the mix.

We loosened up out concepts by taking our poetry- baskets shopping into a surreal supermarket (as suggested by Mario Petrucci in another workshop) where I encouraged everyone to think of containers that they could carry their hearts desires home in, and then a list of those things they liked. The resultant poems were fun and interesting and gave us all permission to make unusual connections.

Of my group of five, four turned out not to be writers of poetry usually, but were artists. Though presenting more of a challenge they also brought such wonderful visual imagery and colour to their words that their poems were a delight.

The list of emotions that we linked in word-association speed with foods of all types provided another way to enter a poem, where such terms as ‘lime jealousy’ or ‘pavlova love’ were possible.

Then came the fruit A delicious plate of different fruits to cut, squash, peel, smell, taste, and all the time jotting down thoughts as we did so.

I loved the idea of the passion fruit as a ‘wrinkled dowager drenched in Chanel No5’ and ‘with her rich exotic memories’ that one of the group came up with, and the descriptions of the fig that came from another!

Finally we delved into recipe books to use the form of a recipe to structure our poems and here I used one of mine as an example – it comes from an old saying and a recipe combined.

‘Kissing is out of fashion when the gorse is out of bloom’

A Kiss on the Wild Side

I’ll gather the gorse flowers
sun sharp their scent stealing away my breath.
Fill my calico skirts with their acid brightness
carry them away, every one.
I’ll simmer them together with bruised ginger
with see-through orange peel
with pounds of sugar,
then let it cool
to a rational temperature.
I’ll add, less spice than I once would,
set the jar to stand in that still warm place
at the back of my mind,
and watch the seasons through,
watch the blooms come and come.
Then I’ll see if it’s true,
if I’m ready
to drink your wine.

In the evening the Liskeard Poets (to which I belong) gave a reading which was well received and was followed by an open-mike session where four out of my five new poets each read a couple of their new poems – to much acclaim!  All in all a pleasant evening was had by all.

Quick update for the FWT? cheerleaders – remained at 9.10 but a half inch drop in waist pulled in tight AND thighs are more toned – bought my first pair of skinny jeans last week too – so not unhappy about that !

So what were you up to last week? Did you learn any new skills? Try out any new hobbies? Do share, I love to hear from you.



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