Posts Tagged ‘herbs


Melissa Kwasny’s Thistle (2006)

Over the next few weeks or months, I will post all my reviews (“Tom’s Celebrations”) that appeared in Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose (formerly Redactions: Poetry & Poetics) up to and including issue 12. After that, my reviews appeared here (The Line Break) before appearing in the journal. This review first appeared in issue 6/7, which was published circa mid-2006.


Melissa Kwasny's – ThistleMelissa Kwasny’s Thistle (Lost Horse Press) opens with the Emily Dickinson quote, “The career of flowers differs from ours only in audibleness.” The quote provides a good frame for this collection of poems, for in Thistle, Kwasny is trying to hear the flowers, plants, & herbs by visually observing them, &, at times, by making associations to them through her own life. That is, she is projecting her emotions & life onto the personality of the vegetation & hoping that by comparison & by talking to the plant, she will acquire a metaphysical hearing or a hearing of the plant through meditation.

   The listening I do in winter is simple.
   I watch you like a stranger. I watch me.

These poems, at times, almost seem like they are a session of psychological therapy, where the plants acts as a psychologist, but that is only something I think about in reflection of the book.

While Kwasny often hears the plants through projection (& sometimes through smell, “a fume to force the bud of my heart”), the reader will hear each plant’s voice talk through the lyrical poems’ tones & rhythms. Each poem is for one specific plant, herb, or flower, & each poem has musical subtleties that reflect the plant’s voice, & Thistle is a bouquet of plants speaking poems.//




Kwasny, Melissa. Thistle. Sandpoint, ID: Lost Horse Press, 2006.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day nine

Saint Cosme Cotes Du Rhone 2008As soon as the cork popped from the  Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2008, a bouquet of raspberries flowed out like a genie released from its lamp. I want to drink it now, but I have to drive to the store to get some cheese, crackers, bread, and cherry tomatoes or grapes. Maybe a chocolate pie, too. Tonight, it’s me and the girlfriend hanging out, playing Scrabble, listening to music, and taking an imaginary trip to France, or Cardiff, Wales.

Part of the back label reads:

The galets roulé “rolling stones!” on their red clay give Syrahs strength and intensity. At the opposite, the limestony sands reveal finesse and minerality.

I assume, there is lots of syrah in this Rhone. Maybe it’s all syrah. . . . I just did a little research. It’s 100% syrah. If my memory is correct, syrah originated in the Rhone Valley, so that makes sense. However, I always thought a Rhone was a blend of two or more grapes, like syrah and grenache. . . . I can’t verify the specifics of the blend or if it has to be a blend.

I’m off to walk the dog and go to the store. I’ll be back in an hour-and-a-half or so. Hold on.

. . .

Suite. I’m back. Time to drink!

It’s got a happy purple color especially around the meniscus. It makes me think of lavenders in spring. It smells dark and heavy like it will be Cabernet Sauvignon. Leather, tobacco, earth, dark plums, and juicy cherries. Bing cherries. Like the syrupy ones out of a jar. The ones you put on a sundae. A cherry on top and some peppers down below and the aforementioned in between.

It’s got legs like a Cabernet Sauvignon, too. So alcohol, here I come.


Finally, I’m going to taste it. It’s dry, juicy, and peppery with a slight sour finish. Lot’s of herbs. The girlfriend says, “Pizza herbs!”

It’s like a thin Cab and dry on the front teeth.

After pouring another glass it has opened up. The dryness isn’t as dominant, and the herbs are really coming out. This is definitely a red-sauce pizza wine. Yeah, I bet if I had pizza this would be really juicy, and it would work its way between the herbs and the sauce. It would become one with the sauce. It’s a zen pizza wine.//

The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

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