The Sumptuous Feast

All enjoyment, all taking in and assimilation, is eating, or rather: eating is nothing other than assimilation. All spiritual pleasure can be expressed through eating.


According to Novalis (and Derrida and others) all taking in is a form of consumption and all consumption is a form of nourishment. How do nourishment and consumption relate to poetry? Reading is a form of consuming and therefore nourishment, and making poetry is a form of feeding our community, our loved ones, strangers—the world. And, of course, the very act of writing poems is a kind of restriction—what some might call starving, others might call discipline or, in food-world vernacular, “dieting.” The very structure of a poem, the line, the music, meaning and language, rhythm, rhyme—all of these regulations mimic the rules and structure of a diet. Yet making a poem is also akin to sitting at a sumptuous feast: the decadence and beauty of language, music, sound and meaning. In this workshop we will examine all of these issues while reading poems about food and drink—cakes and pastries, bon bons and marshmallows, lemonade and lemon teas—as well as pages from cookbooks, finding our own individual way of making poems about nourishment and food. And we will of course be eating and drinking!

Workshop Details


Cynthia Cruz’s first collection, Ruin, was published by Alice James Books in 2006. Her second collection, The Glimmering Room, was published in 2012 and her third collection, Wunderkammer, in 2014 by Four Way Books. Her poems have been published in the New Yorker, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Boston Review and many other journals, and her essays, art and book reviews have been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Rumpus and Hyperallergic. She has taught at many colleges and universities, including the New School, Julliard, Queens College and the Rutgers-Newark MFA Program, as well as with Teachers & Writers Collaborative. She is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony and a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University. She currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and is an art editor at Guernica magazine.