Poem of the Week: Bach and My Father by Paul Zimmer via Poetry Mistress Alison

Bach and My Father, by Paul Zimmer

Six days a week my father sold shoes
to support our family through depression and war,
nursed his wife through years of Parkinson’s,
loved nominal cigars, manhattans, long jokes,a
never kissed me, but always shook my hand.

Once he came to visit me when a Brandenburg
was on the stereo. He listened with care—
brisk melodies, symmetry, civility, and passion.
When it finished, he asked to hear it again,
moving his right hand in time. He would have
risen to dance if he had known how.

“Beautiful,” he said when it was done,
my father, who’d never heard a Brandenburg.
Eighty years old, bent, and scuffed all over,
just in time he said, “That’s beautiful.”

Click here for more information about Paul Zimmer.

alisonmcghee.com

Words by Winter: my podcast

Thank you Alison

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Baked Pasta with Feta and Oven Roasted Tomatoes!

So this recipe saved me last year when I made the decision to simplify week-day meals. Hey, no more Tuesday night paella with sangria! I had heard that it came from Tik Tok but truthfully I just googled it after hearing about it and found a good version of it right here. This is now a staple for weekends and weekdays it’s THAT yummy.

Check out the original on Delish.com

Here goes:

INGREDIENTS

2 pt. cherry or grape tomatoes

1 shallot, quartered (I actually never used this)

3 cloves garlic, smashed 

1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Kosher salt

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 (8-oz.) block feta

3 sprigs fresh thyme 

10 oz. pasta

Zest of 1 lemon (optional but I used it and it’s fabulous)

Fresh basil, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a large ovenproof skillet or medium baking dish, combine tomatoes, shallot, garlic, and all but 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and red pepper flakes and toss to combine. 
  2. Place feta into center of tomato mixture and drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Scatter thyme sprigs over tomatoes. Bake for 40 minutes, OR until tomatoes are bursting and feta is golden on top. (NOTES – check how it’s doing at the 30 minute mark as it can be quite done by then)
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup pasta water before draining.
  4. To skillet with tomatoes and feta, add cooked pasta, reserved pasta water, and lemon zest (if using) and stir until combined. Garnish with basil. 

Serve it up and enjoy!

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Poem of the Week: The Evening Star by George Kalogeris via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

The Evening Star, by George Kalogeris

I boarded the Blue Line at Aquarium station.
The only empty seat was the one by that young,

head back, eyes closed, exhausted-looking father
holding his sleeping child in his folded arms.

It was already suppertime, and the Evening Star,
as Sappho sings, was calling all of the creatures

home to their mother, through the rush-hour traffic.
The subway was coming out of the tunnel’s mouth

and I was sixty when I suddenly felt
a tiny hand start pulling at my sleeve.

In his sleep the child I never had was reaching
out for me, while the father I never became

kept his eyes shut. And all the way to my stop
at Orient Heights, nothing disturbed our dream

Click here for more information about George Kalogeris.

alisonmcghee.com

Words by Winter: my podcast

Thank you so much, as always, Alison.

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Poem of the Week: Betty Parris Hears Only No

Betty Parris Hears Only No, by Ginny Lowe Connors
(daughter ef the R.everend Parris)

No running    no dancing    no wasting of time

no power    no nonsense    opinions    or rage

all of our stitches must march a straight line

no running    no dancing    no wasting of time

stubbornness ugly    defiance a crime

I dream I’ve been captured    forced into a cage

no running    no dancing    no wasting of time

no power    no nonsense    opinions    or rage 

Please click here for Ginny Lowe Connors’ website.

Thanks to the amazing Alison for sharing these poems.
alisonmcghee.com

Words by Winter: my podcast

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Poem of the Week: Summing Up by Claribel Alegria via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Summing Up, by Claribel Alegria, translated by the author and Darwin J. Flakoll

In the sixty-three years
I have lived
some instants are electric:
the happiness of my feet
jumping puddles
six hours in Machu Picchu
the buzzing of the telephone
while awaiting my mother’s death
the ten minutes it took
to lose my virginity
the hoarse voice
announcing the assassination
of Archbishop Romero
fifteen minutes in Delft
the first wail of my daughter
I don’t know how many years yearning
for the liberation of my people
certain immortal deaths
the eyes of that starving child
your eyes bathing me in love
one forget-me-not afternoon
the desire to mold myself
into a verse
a cry
a fleck of foam.

For more information about poet and “voice for the voiceless and the dispossessed” Claribel Alegria, please click here.​
Thank you Alison.
alisonmcghee.com

Words by Winter: my podcast

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Poem of the Week:Secret Reading Matter by Tadeusz Dabrowski via Poetry Mistress Alison

Secret Reading Matter, by Tadeusz Dąbrowski, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones

I take the books left for free recycling mainly for their smell, 
I stick my nose among the pages, into business not my own, 
then stroll around someone else’s home,
peeping into their kitchen and their bedroom. But once 
their smell has faded and the book’s imbued with mine, 
I leave it at a bus stop or in a mailbox.
Busy nonstop with their crimes, their love lives, 
good and evil, keeping an eye on the time
and the setting, the characters haven’t a clue how many books 
they’re carrying away in their clothing


Please click here for more information on Tadeusz Dąbrowski.

Thanks as always to the lovely Alison McGhee for finding and sharing these poems.
alisonmcghee.com

Words by Winter: my podcast

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Bridgerton Inspired Head-Turning Coconut Shrimp Soup!

Calling all faux-wannabe royals – this recipe which I found tucked away in Hello Magazine is an easy-to-make tasty little gem which according to the copy “conjures up memories of meals served in the popular TV period drama, Bridgerton!

SERVES 6

  • 1 small Yukon gold potato
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil1 large leek
  • 10 medium cloves garlic, diced and divided
  • 11/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp kosher salt or to taste
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 6 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled and cubed
  1. Add potato to a small pot of water and and bring to boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium and simmer until tender about 20 minutes. Remove and cool.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat add 3 tbs oil and add leeks and 6 cloves of garlic. Cook until leek is soft approximately 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan over high heat, add remaining 3 tbs oil, shrimp and remaining garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Cook 5 minutes or until done.
  4. In a food processor, add leek and potato, coconut milk and puree.
  5. Pour into a medium saucepan over low heat and add red curry paste and ginger. Cook 2 minutes stirring often.Remove from heat.
  6. Pour into individual bowls and add chopped shrimp, add mango and cilantro to garnish.

Enjoy with a glass of bubbly!

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Poem of the Week: A Secret Life by Stephen Dunn via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

A Secret Life, by Stephen Dunn

Why you need to have one
is not much more mysterious than
why you don’t say what you think
at the birth of an ugly baby.
Or, you’ve just made love
and feel you’d rather have been
in a dark booth where your partner
was nodding, whispering yes, yes,
you’re brilliant. The secret life
begins early, is kept alive
by all that’s unpopular
in you, all that you know
a Baptist, say, or some other
accountant would object to.
It becomes what you’d most protect
if the government said you can protect
one thing, all else is ours.
When you write late at night
it’s like a small fire
in a clearing, it’s what
radiates and what can hurt
if you get too close to it.
It’s why your silence is a kind of truth.
Even when you speak to your best friend,­­­
the one who’ll never betray you,
you always leave out one thing;
a secret life is that important.

Click here for more information about Stephen Dunn.
Thanks to Alison for always finding and sharing these beautiful gems.
alisonmcghee.com
Words by Winter: my podcast

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Poem of the Week: Wondrous by Sarah Freligh via Poetry Mistress Alison McGhee

Wondrous, by Sarah Freligh

I’m driving home from school when the radio talk
turns to E.B. White, his birthday, and I exit
the here and now of the freeway at rush hour,

travel back into the past, where my mother is reading
to my sister and me the part about Charlotte laying her eggs
and dying, and though this is the fifth time Charlotte

has died, my mother is crying again, and we’re laughing
at her because we know nothing of loss and its sad math,
how every subtraction is exponential, how each grief

multiplies the one preceding it, how the author tried
seventeen times to record the words She died alone
without crying, seventeen takes and a short walk during

which he called himself ridiculous, a grown man crying
for a spider he’d spun out of the silk thread of invention —
wondrous how those words would come back and make

him cry, and, yes, wondrous to hear my mother’s voice
ten years after the day she died — the catch, the rasp,
the gathering up before she could say to us, I’m OK.

For more information on Sarah Freligh, please visit her website.

A big thanks to the wonderful Alison McGhee for curating and sharing these word gems.

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Vegetarian Singapore Noodles

I found this in Canadian Living Vegetarian and it’s delicious. For those of you who eat prawns, it’s an easy addition or switcheroo for tofu! This recipe is fast and easy and it heats up well the next day.

  •  8 oz rice stick vermicelli
  •  3 tablespoons sodium-reduced soy sauce
  •  2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  •  2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •  2 cups shredded napa cabbage
  •  1 1/2 cup drained and cubed Sunrise Extra Firm Tofu
  •  sweet red pepper julienned
  •  4 oz snow peas julienned
  •  green onions thinly sliced
  •  cloves garlic minced
  •  4 teaspoons curry powder
  •  1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon pepper
  •  1/4 cup chopped unsalted peanut (optional)

In large bowl, soak vermicelli in warm water until softened and separate, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar and 3/4 cup water; set aside.

In wok, heat oil over medium-high heat; stir-fry cabbage, tofu, red pepper, snow peas, green onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add curry powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper; stir-fry for 1 minute. 

Stir in soy mixture; bring to boil. Stir in noodles, tossing to combine; stir-fry until tender, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle with peanuts (if using).

You can check out the full recipe here.

Thanks Canadian Living for your fantastic test kitchen!

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