87. Gastronomic Poetry

Charles Simic erinnert in der New York Review of Books an seinen Freund Mark Strand, der im November starb:

One wild notion of ours actually bore fruit. We started a new poetry movement that we hoped would make us famous. Every other poet was starting one forty years ago, so we thought, Why not us? Ours was to be called Gastronomic Poetry. Both Mark and I had noticed at poetry readings that whenever food was mentioned in a poem—and that didn’t happen very often—blissful smiles would break out on the faces of people in the audience. Thus, we reasoned, in a country where most people hate poetry and everyone is eating and snacking constantly, poems ought to mention food more frequently. To fix that deplorable omission, we thought we’d include one or more mouth-watering dishes in every poem we wrote, no matter what its subject was. Literary purists were bound to be shocked finding barbecued ribs or a slice of apple pie in some sublime poem of ours, but those millions of Americans who buy gourmet magazines and cookbooks and dream of eating the gorgeously prepared meals described in their pages, without ever bothering to make them themselves, would rush to buy our books and enjoy them in the same way. Mark’s poem about pot roast is an example of gastronomic poetry:

I gaze upon the roast,
that is sliced and laid out
on my plate,
and over it
I spoon the juices
of carrot and onion.
And for once I do not regret
the passage of time…

There are more than a few of mine where yummy dishes are mentioned. Here’s a love poem called “Café Paradiso”:

My chicken soup thickened with pounded young almonds.
My blend of winter greens.
Dearest tagliatelle with mushrooms, fennel, anchovies,
Tomatoes and vermouth sauce.
Beloved monk fish braised with onions, capers
And green olives.
Give me your tongue tasting of white beans and garlic…

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