We're off again, this time to Marlinton, West Virginia where I'll be the creative writing master, teaching a class for the Allegheny Echoes Workshops.
I am looking forward to this: my plan is to center the discussion around food and the role it plays in our Appalachian culture, not just at mealtimes but in all aspects of our life.
I am thinking about kitchens, cellars, smokehouses and Mom and Pop restaurants.
About canning and drying and pickling and freezing.
About hunting and fishing and foraging.
About beans and new potatoes.
About favorite, passed-down recipes and legendary family cooks.
About funerals and weddings and reunions.
About picnic tables, kitchen tables, and porches.
About manners, folklore, and cures.
About farmers markets and roadside stands.
About chickens, pigs and milk cows.
About bulimia, anorexia and the obesity epidemic.
About woodstoves, Hoosier cabinets and microwaves.
And so many other things in our lives that begin with our need for nourishment, for both body and soul.
We'll string a few beans at first while we talk, then put them on to cook with new potatoes while we explore, discuss and write. I have stacks of poems to share, and these will be the jumping off place for us to write.
I think this is going to be interesting. While I'm gone, here's one for you to ponder:
When God had made the oak trees,
And the beeches and the pines,
And the flowers and the grasses,
And the tendrils of the vines;
He saw that there was wanting
A something in His plan,
And He made the little apples,
The little cider apples,
The sharp, sour cider apples,
To prove his love for man.
Unknown (from the website Food Reference).