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Every weekday, Tracy K. Smith delivers a different way to see the world – through poetry. Produced in partnership with the Poetry Foundation.

The Slowdown American Public Media

    • Darstellende Kunst
    • 5.0, 1 Bewertung

Every weekday, Tracy K. Smith delivers a different way to see the world – through poetry. Produced in partnership with the Poetry Foundation.

    427: Butter

    427: Butter

    This week, we’re featuring poems about food and all the many ways it sustains us. Because food is community and memory. It’s struggle, joy, and so much more.

    Butterby Elizabeth Alexander
    My mother loves butter more than I do,
    more than anyone. She pulls chunks off
    the stick and eats it plain, explaining
    cream spun around into butter! Growing up
    we ate turkey cutlets sauteed in lemon
    and butter, butter and cheese on green noodles,
    butter melting in small pools in the hearts
    of Yorkshire puddings, butter better
    than gravy staining white rice yellow,
    butter glazing corn in slipping squares,
    butter the lava in white volcanoes
    of hominy grits, butter softening
    in a white bowl to be creamed with white
    sugar, butter disappearing into
    whipped sweet potatoes, with pineapple,
    butter melted and curdy to pour
    over pancakes, butter licked off the plate
    with warm Alaga syrup. When I picture
    the good old days I am grinning greasy
    with my brother, having watched the tiger
    chase his tail and turn to butter. We are
    Mumbo and Jumbo’s children despite
    historical revision, despite
    our parent’s efforts, glowing from the inside
    out, one hundred megawatts of butter.

    "Butter" by Elizabeth Alexander, from CRAVE RADIANCE by Elizabeth Alexander, copyright © 2012 Elizabeth Alexander. Used by permission of Graywolf Press.

    • 5 Min.
    426: Lesson: Chicken Soup

    426: Lesson: Chicken Soup

    This week, we’re featuring poems about food and all the many ways it sustains us. Because food is community and memory. It’s struggle, joy, and so much more.

    Lesson: Chicken Soup by Christine Kitano
    My grandmother pours salt
    into my right palm, places thin slivers
    of garlic in my left. She explains

    something about blood, how to salt
    the raw bird to drain its fluids,
    but my mind already wanders:

    I watch the chicken shrivel but compose
    instead the grandfather I’ve only met
    in story: daybreak, he’s just finished

    mopping up in the buildings
    that sculpt this city’s skyline, but it’s
    someone else’s view of Los Angeles.

    The immigrant sees, not the postcard-perfect lights,
    but the scuffed tiles, dust-lined desks, the darkening
    throats of toilet after toilet.

    Home, he tiptoes upstairs not to wake
    his daughters, holding his shoes
    like a thief. He’s fired

    for stealing a roll of toilet paper, a can of soda
    for my mother. Children are nothing
    but trouble, my grandmother says,

    shaking a wooden spoon. My mother claims
    the story otherwise: it was she
    who accompanied father to work, she

    who stole a box of stale donuts, she
    who lost the family’s first job. Grandmother
    shrugs and repeats the same

    conclusion. Never have children, she says,
    though her expression is hidden
    by the steam now rising from the pot.

    It’s a simple recipe: boil until the meat
    falls from the bones, easy, like a girl
    shedding a summer dress.

    Last night, I cooked for friends.
    After dinner, my friend handed me
    his one-month son, who only

    blinked when I nudged my thumb
    into his fist. Earlier, washing the pale
    bird, I struggled to keep the body

    from slipping through my hands: I held
    its small-fleshed form under cold water,
    pulled the giblets out the round hollow

    between its ribs and was surprised
    to be surprised when it didn’t
    make a sound.
    "Lesson: Chicken Soup" by Christine Kitano, from SKY COUNTRY by Christine Kitano, copyright © 20...

    • 5 Min.
    425: Frequently Asked Questions: #7

    425: Frequently Asked Questions: #7

    Today's poem is Frequently Asked Questions: #7 by Camille T. Dungy. This episode originally aired on November 12, 2019.

    • 5 Min.
    424: A Mother's Mouth Illuminated

    424: A Mother's Mouth Illuminated

    Today's poem is A Mother's Mouth Illuminated by Threa Almontaser.

    • 5 Min.
    423: poem for palm pressed upon pane

    423: poem for palm pressed upon pane

    Today's poem is poem for palm pressed upon pane by Marwa Helal.

    • 5 Min.
    422: The End of Science Fiction

    422: The End of Science Fiction

    Today's episode is The End of Science Fiction by Lisel Mueller.

    • 5 Min.

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