Congratulations to Susan Rich, whose new book The Alchemist's Kitchen is hot off the press. I had the pleasure of celebrating the arrival of the first copies with Susan and KF over cocktails at the Sorrento the other night. It's a lovely book. Susan is a dear friend, and writing group member, and I know many of the poems from the past years of group. I especially love familiar (to me) poems such as "Food for Fallen Angels," "Tulip Sutra," "Tender" and "At Middle Life: A Romance." Yet there were several new poems/surprises in the book as well. Here is a sample, from a series of poems drawn from the life of photographer Myra Albert Wiggins (1869 -1956). I just love the accumulating "f" sounds in the first four stanzas, and how they return in the final lines with family, fedora and fruit:
She cannot save herself
from the allure of the new
the frame of formation
finding her subject
the memory made flesh in the catch of an F-stop.
She recalibrates her life --
a dress, a table, a coiled bowl;
collects Japanese paper and pools
of the pharmacist's blue
everything in the family's
dark rooms. The absent
husband to fedora --
the children to a plate of autumn fruit.