Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Upsetting My Inner Julia Child

        In 2012 I submitted a poem called "Julia Child Skis in Big Sky, Montana" to the Philip Booth Poetry Prize contest sponsored by Salt Hill Journal and was named a finalist by the poet/judge Bruce Smith. Alas, only the winning poem was published in the journal. After this disappointment, I submitted the poem to LUMINA, the literary journal published by Sarah Lawrence College, where it was at first rejected and then accepted two days later for publication in the current issue. I was thrilled. I'd found a home for Julia.
        Last night after traveling home from a family wedding in Austin, Texas, there they were with the rest of my mail -- copies of the "prestigious" journal. I ripped open the manila envelope, marveled at the fabulous cover artwork and turned to the Table of Contents.When I found and read my poem, I was in shock. I had incorporated two italicized Julia Child quotes into my one stanza poem. The italics were gone. I had inserted a colon at the end of each line leading into a quote, but at the end of the line leading to the first quote, instead of the colon was a box with an x in it. OMG!! There's an X Box in my poem. If the colon had been replaced by a carat, at least I could have made a homonym food joke in honor of Julia.
        To add insult to injury, my one stanza poem became a two stanza poem. I started to cry and threw the journal across the room into the wall. Once I calmed down, I went back to the journal to read some stories and poems. Unfortunately, I made the decision to look at the Contributors' Notes first. My name and short biography were nowhere to be seen. I didn't throw the book this time, but I did scream profane words. That's because I don't have a blow torch. See below.

 Julia Child Skis in Big Sky, Montana

She glides off Dakota Lift, brushes the crust
from her boots with a pole, skims
across a granita patch and carves her edges in granulated
snow. Surrounded by whipped drifts, she wipes
her defrosted goggles at the top of the black diamond run,
considers the danger, but then she remembers:
If you’re afraid of butter, use cream. She knees
into the crystal layers like a stand mixer’s hook,
a single long series of S’s, stems the trail’s steepness,
but pauses to rest on a mountain plateau. Her fingers
numb, she rubs them for warmth:
Every woman needs a blowtorch.
Shifting gears, she whisks through deep powder,
slaloms the bowl off the rim of the slope.


Friday, August 19, 2011

My First Post

I've been working hard this year on my poetry. I completed two writing boot camps (one in January and another in May) led by Sargent Sarah Freligh and in June Sarah and I attended the 17th Annual Poetry Conference, Exploring Form Narrative, at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.. We took a sonnet class with Kim Addonizio, which was informative and fun. Kim asked us to write a sonnet, and at Kim's suggestion I wrote one (a lie, of course) about how I fractured/lacerated my left baby finger.


I was Venus of the half shell deep in debt,
yet slurping oysters bathed in mignonette.
You'd never catch me eating with a fork.
I learned to tip their sipping lips in Cork.
But Galway's where I found myself som work -
apprentice to the shucker at Ray's Oysters.
With brush and blade but no glove at the raw bar
I unhinged bivalves bought from trusted vendors.
"Be careful," Ray told me , but I ignored his words.
When I slid the knife's tip in the shell, it slipped
and slashed my hand. In blood-soaked ice I collapsed,
unhinged. I'm Venous now. The cooks place bets.
By season's end, how many stitches will I get?

What really happened was I tripped up a sidewalk curb at the corner of Harvard and Dartmouth Streets and landed on my left hand and side. It hurt. A lot. I received 17 sutures and weeks of hand therapy.

If you'd like to read some of my other poems, see "Climate Change" in the recent issue of Lake Affect and "Salvador Dali Goes Fishing in Kansas" in the on-line magazine Mixed Fruit.

Talk to you soon.