Kitchen Heat: Poems

Overview

Kitchen Heat records in woman's language the charm and bite of domestic life. Ava Leavell Haymon's poems form a collection of Household Tales, unswerving and unsentimental, serving up the strenuous intimacies, children, meals, pets, roused memories, outrages, and solaces of marriage and family.

Some of the poems are comic, such as "Conjugal Love Poem," about a wife who resists giving her husband the pity he seeks when complaining about a cold. Others find myth and fairy tale ...

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Kitchen Heat: Poems

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Overview

Kitchen Heat records in woman's language the charm and bite of domestic life. Ava Leavell Haymon's poems form a collection of Household Tales, unswerving and unsentimental, serving up the strenuous intimacies, children, meals, pets, roused memories, outrages, and solaces of marriage and family.

Some of the poems are comic, such as "Conjugal Love Poem," about a wife who resists giving her husband the pity he seeks when complaining about a cold. Others find myth and fairy tale lived out in contemporary setting, with ironic result. Others rename the cast of characters: husband and wife become rhinoceros and ox; a carpool driver, the ominous figure Denmother.

An elderly female is Old Grandmother, who creates time and granddaughters from oyster stew. The humidity of Deep South summers and steam from Louisiana recipes contribute to a simmering language, out of which people and images emerge and into which they dissolve again.

Denmother went to college in the 60s,
could pin your ears back at a cocktail party.
Her laugh had an edge to it,
and her yard was always cut.

She grew twisted herbs in the flower beds,
hid them like weeks among dumpy marigolds.
The wolfsbane killed the pansies
before they bloomed much.

She'd look at you real straight and talk
about nuclear power plants or abortion. At home
alone she boiled red potatoes all night
to make the primitive starch that holds up the clouds.
-- "Denmother's Conversation"

LSU Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807131725
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2006
  • Pages: 122
  • Sales rank: 1,451,435
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Ava Leavell Haymon, named Poet Laureate of Louisiana in 2013, is the author of the poetry collections Eldest Daughter, Why the House Is Made of Gingerbread, and The Strict Economy of Fire. She teaches poetry writing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and directs a writers' retreat center in the mountains of New Mexico.

LSU Press

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Table of Contents

What the magnolias say 1
Hunting and gathering 5
Endangered habitat 6
Bandera Roja 7
Rare night out 8
All the men in my family hunt 9
Winter migration patterns 11
Conjugal love poem 13
Married, with cancer 14
Prothalamion 17
Quarrel : an aftermath 19
The distance between us 20
Choosing monogamy 21
Aphrodite 22
Envoi : Billy Doo 25
What passes for fall 26
You can see it in the architecture 29
White house in watercolor 30
Eye games 32
Heat 34
Old grandmother magic 35
First grandchild breaks the egg with no shell 36
Myopia 38
Four eyes gets her first warning 39
Snake doctor speaks to the apocalypse 40
You never get to the horizon 42
Dry slowly, away from heat 44
Trophy 46
Milk tooth 47
Sunday wart charm 48
The lens 50
First grandchild remembers a Christmas story 52
Verdict 54
Apocrypha 60
Watercolor lessons 62
Watercolor : two rockers on a sun porch 65
80th birthday, Jackson, Mississippi 66
If you transplant parsley, your children will die 68
Fence 69
Invocation 73
Written while baking Easter dragons 74
Denmother's conversation 76
Hostess 77
Denmother's vacation 78
Rainbow room 79
Warning 81
My dreams last night were thick with salt 82
Denmother lists her house with a realtor 84
Denmother volunteers at the school carnival 85
Bone fires 86
The dress 87
Galapagos in the Felicianas 88
Love's complexion 90
Shopping 91
Coelenterata : Navarre beach 92
Sighting 93
Waiting : a family I Ching 94
Family vacation, complete with whiplash 96
You better enjoy this, it's costing a fortune 98
Waiting for dark 102
Carving Jack 104
Mrs. Calendar negotiates the Xmas rush 106
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