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Monday, May 20, 2013


2.5 cups of rice
water up two and a half knuckle points
boil, when boiling, let boiling open-lidded until water is gone
then ten minutes reduced heat
--Mom's recipe for making rice outside of the ubiquitous rice-cooker

This is another Poems-For-All booklet from the generous gift of curator Richard Hansen! This 1.75" X 2” mini-book features a poem, “mom—“ by Craig Cotter:

As you can see by the above cover, it’s an image of rice and then the red band with the title and byline.  This design is seemingly simple, but has more depth after one has read the poem (below).  Seemingly simple, too, because the interior is just one folded page to show a title page and the poem:

Here is the text of the poem:


the boy
doesn't want
another spoonful of steamed
buddha brand jasmine rice—
he reaches for a chopstick
propped on a bowl of tom yum instead.
tapping the stick everywhere
and waving it in the air
he accepts a spoonful of red fish.

Reading the poem, one understands the cover design: the preferred red (of the “red fish”) in the foreground with the rice in the background.

The synchronistic reference to rice, and thus its cover image, works nicely on the back cover because of Poems-For-All’s featured slogan, “SCATTER LIKE SEEDS.”  The rice, then, becomes a visual metaphor for poems which PFA wishes to scatter “like seeds” throughout the universe.

Nicely done!  And where shall we “shelve” this book?  Well, as befits the Filipino tradition of having white rice with each and every meal, Mom used to cook rice for the household.  So, I immediately thought of shelving this book on the mini sewing chair I associate with Mom.  It already has a book shelved on it, “I’M NOBODY! WHO ARE YOU?” by Emily Dickinson.  But I thought Craig Cotter’s “mom—“ might be a nice companion for Emily (that poem sounds like Emily needs it), might even provide some comic relief.  Entonces:

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