Tuesday, January 06, 2009

First Poetry Sretch of 2009 - Your Mother's Kitchen

I've been reading The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach for some time now, jotting ideas in the small journal I keep in my purse and trying them when I can steal a minute or two in the day. Last night I wrote a few words while waiting in line at the grocery store. This week I want to try an exercise from this book entitled Your Mother's Kitchen. Here's what Rita Dove writes:
Write a poem about your mother's kitchen. (It helps if you actually draw the kitchen first, with crayons!) Put the oven in it, and also something green, and something dead. You are not in this poem, but some female relation—aunt, sister, close friend—must walk into the kitchen during the course of the poem.
While I haven't drawn a picture of the room, I have pulled out several photos of my mother and grandmother in it. I'm going to let them inspire me. Will you join me in writing about your mother's kitchen? Leave me a comment about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. Amazing, Tricia, I have this book out and on my nightstand to re-read sections.

  2. Okay. Now this I *can* do.

  3. Tricia,

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

    I may cheat on this poetry stretch. I've written a collection of memoir poems about my maternal grandparents. A number of the poems are set in their kitchen--where I spent many of my happiset childhood days. I may post one of the poems later this week.

  4. Hi, found your blog doing a google search on Miss Rumphius which i am busy reading to my 6yr old as part of Five in a Row homeschooling programme. I live in remote Mozambique, a place called Quelimane and writing the poem, In my Mother's kitchen, and reading the one by Lord Tennyson absolutely made by day. It was like discovering a bit of treasure on a long trail.

    Here is poem:
    My Mother’s Kitchen
    By Jacqueline Leach Dove

    My mother’s kitchen has an ant farm
    And confusing tins with tea.
    A territorial cockatoo who struts about,
    Causing unsuspecting toes alarm.

    My mother’s kitchen is eclectic
    More artist’s liar then cooks abode.
    The pots upon the stove quite hectic,
    Declaring with gusto their mother load.

    My mother’s kitchen is at times
    Heavy with unspoken words
    As duty wrestles with desire
    Amongst the whey and curds.

    My mother’s kitchen is the place,
    Visitors first spy as they arrive.
    Flowers, art, bead work embrace
    All with eyes to absorb it’s grace.

    Hark, who is this whose skipping in,
    Joanna clasping fresh-picked flowers
    The daughter of the next-of-kin,
    She who is destined for her own kitchen?

  5. My contribution can be found at

    Sorry to say I didn't quite follow the rules but this is what came out of my brain as I pictured my mother's kitchen.


  6. I had the hardest time staying out of my mother's kitchen, but I did manage to do it at last!


  7. I wrote one on my FaceBook page. My childhood kitchen is really one I would rather forget, much as I loved my mother. She was one lousy cook.

  8. Thanks, this was my poetry prompt of the day--still in draft form, but thought I'd share it.

    D. Dina Friedman
    --Escaping Into the Night (Simon & Schuster, 2006); Playing Dad's Song (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2006)


    It is an airless place.
    The walls are green.
    On a dark table, meat
    drips blood onto wax paper

    There are bones, soup, smells,
    dirt on the floor, dog hair
    chopped meat in a gleaming silver bowl
    where I must go in an add

    bread crumbs, tomato, egg
    and form flesh into perfect shapes.
    It is a place of flesh,
    of women’s voices and old pots,
    family carcasses framed on the yellow refrigerator
    the shells of ourselves. My wild brother sneaks in
    and steals cookies.

  9. Tricia,

    I didn't follow directions--but your Poetry Stretch inspired me to post the introductory poem from an unpublished collection of memoir poems about my maternal grandparents and their house--where I spent many of my happiset childhood days. In the poem, I talk about my grandmother in her kitchen.


  10. Oh, I wanna be in it!

    But I'll sleep on it and see what happens.

    Fun exercise!