Amaranth Journal, one of the most beautiful art and food publications I know, has just published my essay entitled Cooking Carrots Like a Makanai. If you’ve watched the Netflix Series “The Makanai; Cooking for the Maiko House” directed by the famous Kore-eda, you might appreciate my piece. But even if you never cook, have no interest in Japan,and eschew Netflix, please enjoy!
To read the entire piece, please go to the link below.
Here’s how it starts:
Perhaps all you need is a really sharp knife. And a grandmother back in Aomori. I like to think that if I possessed both those things, I could be a cook like Kiyo, the exuberant and competent young woman at the heart of Kore-eda’s beautiful Netflix series, The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House. As I watch the show’s intro, I’m filled with a sort of awe and jealousy. I wanna cut carrots like that! Tidy, perfect matchstick carrots, sliced with a gentle bend of the wrist.
Kiyo doesn’t set out to be a cook. She leaves her hometown at sixteen and comes down to Kyoto with her best friend, Sumire, in hopes of becoming an apprentice geisha. She flunks out as a maiko, but she blossoms as a makanai, or maiko house cook. Of course, thanks to her grandmother’s example, she knows how to cook before she leaves home.
I am delighted that my essay ‘Stache appears in this beautiful new anthology “Keeping It Under Wraps: Bodies” edited by Tracy Hope, Alnaaze Nathoo and Louise Bryant.
This collection, the third one in the Keeping it Under Wraps series, was published in England, although all three editors live in Switzerland.
The editors write: With the constant stream of unrealistic and dangerous standards bombarding us from all sides, we can only draw one conclusion. Despite everything our bodies do for us, they are not as they should be, and many of us battle our entire lives chasing an ever elusive end goal. While we chase the impossible, we avoid sharing about our disabilities, chronic illnesses, or our perceived flaws or deformities because we feel alone, or we don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable.
These are real stories, told with humour, love, self-awareness and frankness, shared so we can all feel less alone in our skins. To show each other that we are all, in fact, more than good enough.
With contributions by: Gabriella Brand Natasha Cabot Catherine Cronin Iris Leona Marie Cross Sarah Lyn Eaton Eirik Gumeny Hillary Jarvis Beth Ann Jedziniak Adin K Premalatha Karupiah Frauke Kasper Bruce Loeffler Matt McGee Jessy Mijnssen Aiofe Osborne Heather Purlett Nancy Rechtman Kay Redrup Julia Rudlaff KT Ryan Adrian Slonaker Bex Thorp Meredith Wadley Sarah Wirth Majini Ya Mombasa
Available now on Amazon in several formats, and soon in paperback at your booksellers.
Vita Poetica Journal publishes creative work with a spiritual inspiration. I am delighted that they chose my poem ”Where We Come From” for inclusion in their summer quarterly.
My poem is part recipe/part prayer/part memoir. It begins with instructions for making paneer, a kind of Indian cottage cheese. When I was in India a few years ago, I added paneer to my cheese-making repertoire. For some time now, I’ve found soft cheese and yogurt making to be very contemplative. The stirring, the steam, the smell of warm milk….
If you are in need of some inner peace these days, you might try making paneer.
P.S. Local folks…..do come to Poetry for a Midsummer’s Night which I am hosting as North Haven Poet Laureate. The event will be held at 6:30 outdoors in the Reading Garden of the Memorial Library on June 23rd, Thursday. Listen or read your own work. Register in advance. Thank you!
The editors of Verse of April, Volume II asked writers to choose a modern poet and write a tribute to them, including a poem in their honor. My poem Muelama: To Naomi Shihab Nye was chosen for inclusion in this unique anthology.
I first discovered Naomi Shihab Nye within the pages of the Poetry Archive of the On Being Project. She is a Palestinian/American poet who sees across borders and embraces our differences….whether cultural, religious, linguistic or physical. I feel she is a needed voice for our times. Humbly, I call her muelama, or teacher in Arabic.
In February, I was named as the first Poet Laureate of my little Connecticut town. And wow….it’s been like a word bath! This is a two year gig and I’m learning so much. There are about thirty towns in my state with Poets Laureate (notice that you’re not supposed to say Poet Laureates, but rather Poets Laureate! – that’s just one of the things I’ve learned!). And there’s a Coalition of Laureates. (it’s okay to use the plural here because you’re using laureate as a noun, and not an adjective!)
Right now, one of my goals is to enjoy the hoopla of National Poetry Month.
In addition to live readings, I’ve recorded a poem to be shared on the website of the Gyroscope Review http://www.gyroscopereview.com Listen every day during April for some great poetry. One of my poems will be featured on April 21st.
Hamilton Stone Review just published my little poem “Big Girls’ Bunk”. You can read it here. The Hamilton Stone Review #46 Maybe it will resonate with some of you if you’ve ever been skipped a grade, or been assigned to the wrong group at camp.
I'll try to clean up before I go
although I don't yet know when I'll be going,
for the sun still hangs in the sky,
a bit pale, diluted now, but still it's the sun I've always known.
Who can tell how long the light will last, or when I should start
peeling off possessions, lugging boxes to the curb,
giving away the black silk skirt made out of Dior scraps
which belonged to that French friend whose aunt once worked for thefamous
couturier. She'd sneak cuttings home at night to stitch into new beauty
which I didn't wear often enough, and yet I don't want to leave it
for the grown children to stuff into a plastic bag, cursing the heavy
dull weight of loss, of my leavings,
of Broadway Playbills kept in order, rusted lids and canning jars,
Let's not even mention the books no one wants
with their crepuscular bindings, their thin pages cracked like egg shells.
I'll try to get rid of them before I go
for I know that no one will ever read
Anna Karenina the way I did, happily ensconced
on a window seat, sixteen years old and home with a head cold,
Mother pouring tisane into a cup and handing it to me, while the December
rays eased their way across the floorboards
and the days, though short, were growing longer,
and I still had chapters left to read.