Leslie McGrath

Food in Poetry, Poetry in Food

Poets have always included food in verse, yet contemporary poetry uses it rather narrowly—as a pathway to the sensual. There’s nothing wrong with that! However, the purchase, preparation, growth, eating, and even the clean-up of a meal can be very powerful ways for a poet to explore broader issues of culture, spirit, and negative emotions. We’ll spend some time looking closely at poems in which food is fulcrum in work by Natasha Saje, Jane Hirshfield, Pablo Neruda and others. We’ll also take the opportunity to create new food-centered poems which surprise us.

Biographical Note:  Leslie McGrath’s poems have been widely published, and have been translated into Portuguese and Romanian. Her interviews with poets are regularly published in the Writer’s Chronicle. Winner of the 2004 Pablo Neruda Prize for poetry, her first collection of poetry, Opulent Hunger, Opulent Rage, was a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award. Her second poetry collection focuses on people who live with mental illness and those who love and care for them. She teaches creative writing and literature part time at Central CT State University and lives on an old farm in Stonington with her husband, a boat builder.


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