"It's my job to remember things I never saw," Karen Douglass says in one poem, and she does - remember and see through the imagination's eye. In beautifully detailed poems, succinct and meditative at once, she shows us food as delight and weapon, necessity and art, gift and punishment. The many dynamics of hunger, both physical and spiritual, what we need to be nourished and to nourish, as individuals and global citizens - these are the crucial concerns of Douglass's clear and indeed nourishing poems.
Betsy Sholl, Poet Laureate for the State of Maine
The Great Hunger that worries, enrages, saddens, arouses, pleases, and inspires these poems by Karen Douglass shows itself in a feast of narrative poems, portraits like cameo lockets with all sorts of hidden spaces and seeds, political manifestoes, love songs, elegies to lost loves and lost dreams, paeans to food. She's a master of the line break that invites us to fill in the spaces with what we ourselves bring to the table. In the midst of something else, there's often a sweet little surprise. And there are last lines to die for. This collection is a treat!
Melanie Tem, author, poet, and playwright,
Here one pitches most of a sterling tea set down the front steps, so a beggar may have his fill. A painter perceives a rich man eating a cracker while a ship idles by. Here, an uncle dresses his cup of rice with motor oil strained through bread. We pat our black pot bellies wondering why we cannot eat under these strains: why not more eggs in the pie filling, why the fields scream corn, why salt married sugar, or what if we harvest all - warming and feeding around the clock? Here, we remember how coffee came to France, how chocolate bars were marketed, how a horse crunches grain and noses the food dish so he can see the horizon line, and like the prairie dogs on the horizon, wonder what ate us as well: coyote, crow, beetle? What made us lunch and how will we be again, molecule by molecule spreading into the next form? All the while feasting, delighting, and starving for more and more. A feast embracing the notion that Our Lady of Guadalupe blessed the food and protected the farmers, so we could savor the last great bite.
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, American Book Award winner
84 pages, $14.95
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