food for poetry

If you’ve ever read John Ashbery’s “Grand Galop,” with its nasty close-ups of sloppy joes and related cafeteria goo, or, even better, “Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape,” a psychedlic jag about cartoon characters (Popeye included) chowing down on canned spinach, you might have sensed that American poets from the post-World War II generation tend to have a queasy relationship with the national cuisine.   If the nature of America (and of American nature) is adumbrated by the state of its food, then nature, for them, was often spooned out of a can and nothing to hunger after.  But in light of this essay by Jerry Weinberger, “America’s Food Revolution,” it looks like something else might be on the plate now.  Get to work, people.


PS: Anyone else titillated by the names of 1.) vegetation, 2.) race horses, and 3.) elegant dishes?   There is so much colloquial inventiveness and cosmopolitan syncretism in all of them.  Just flip through a bulb catalog or go to the racetrack sometime.


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