Poet Diane Lockward, a resident of West Caldwell, brought her newest book of poems, ‘What Feeds Us’, to the Fine Grind in Little Falls on Saturday.
The Fine Grind, recently voted the best coffee/tea bar in Northern New Jersey by New Jersey Monthly Magazine, is hosting weekly readings at their Little Falls location.
And this weekend, besides brewing their famous pots of tea, the owners of The Fine Grind shared their love of poetry with their patrons.
The author of two previous works of poetry, Lockward just happens to be the Poet Laureate of nearby West Caldwell, and is highly regarded in literary circles throughout the country for her poetry. Not only has her work been published extensively in literary journals and anthologies, it has also been featured on both Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, as well as on NPR.
Her awards and accomplishments are many. Lockward was awarded a Poetry Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, received several Pushcart nominations, and has also received awards for her poetry from several literary journals and the St. Louis Poetry Center.
Currently, this poet works as a poet-in-the-schools for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts as well as the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.
But Lockward didn’t grow up with a burning desire to write poetry.
Instead, poetry slowly but surely wooed her during her days as a high school teacher at Millburn High School.
“I didn’t write poetry until 1992,” noted Lockward. “I had been out of college for years.”
After working with Pulitzer Prize winning poet William Stafford on a new idea for teachers to help out students with poetry, Lockward discovered her fascination – and talent – at writing poems.
“When I volunteered, from the first time I wrote a poem, something lit up inside me,” she said.
When asked how she managed to get published, Lockward said she did what most poets do in order to get started.
“I entered contests for six years,” she noted.
And her latest book, ‘What Feeds Us’ surely lives up to its name.
Her poems take you along a marvelous, always surprising and fulfilling road. The poems are as succulent and enticing as the pasta that tied her to a lover or as surprisingly
sweet as the baked artichokes her mother cooked for her when she was a child.
Yet beneath her wit and light touch (“It was always linguini between us”) there is often a dark and sometimes manic imagery.
Her characters in ‘Linguini’ didn’t just eat their pasta – they devoured it in every manner of sauce and style one could concoct.
By the end of the poem, you are wondering how such intense energy between two people could possibly survive.
Truly, each poem is what it is supposed to be – a little miracle.
For those of you who love poetry, rush out and get this book.
And for those of you who are not quite sure about reading poetry, here is one of Diane Lockward’s poems.
Her book, ‘What Feeds Us’, is available through Amazon.com.
Lockward also said she enjoys working with students, because she loves spreading the joy of reading and writing poetry.
When asked what advice she might have for young poets, she said, “Read poetry, and imitate your favorite poets. Be patient. And show respect for other poets.”
It was always linguini between us.
Linguini with white sauce, or
red sauce, sauce with basil snatched
from the garden, oregano rubbed between
our palms, a single bay leaf adrift amidst
plum tomatoes. Linguini with meatballs,
sausage, a side of brascioli. Like lovers
trying positions, we enjoyed it every way
we could – artichokes, mushrooms, little
neck clams, mussels, and calamari – linguini
twining and braiding us each to each.
Linguini knew of the kisses, the smooches,
the molti baci. It was never spaghetti
between us, not cappellini, nor farfalle,
vermicelli, pappardelle, fettuccini, perciatelli,
or even tagliarini. Linguini we stabbed, pitched,
and twirled on forks, spun round and round
on silver spoons. Long, smooth, and always
al dente. In dark trattorias, we broke crusty panera,
toasted each other – La dolce vita! – and sipped
Amarone, wrapped ourselves in linguini,
briskly boiled, lightly oiled salted, and lavished
with sauce. Bellissimo, paradisio, belle gente!
Linguini witnessed our slurping, pulling and
sucking, our unraveling and raveling, chins
glistening, napkins tucked like bibs in collars,
linguini stuck to lips, hips, and bellies, cheeks
flecked with formaggio – parmesan, romano,
and shaved pecorino – stands of linguini flung
around our necks like two fine silk scarves.
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