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Join OPA in Baking Up Some Poetry

Feeling hungry for inspiration and freshly baked bread? The Ohio Poetry Association is teaming up with the Glass Rooster Cannery in Sunbury, Ohio, for a unique cook-and-write workshop. Space is limited, but any are welcome! In this late summer activity, you will join a group to personally make (and later lunch on) homemade bread. These sensory experiences will influence a bit of freewriting, followed by a reading of the group's poems.

Art and antiques barn at Glass Rooster Cannery.
To further elaborate on this event, we've posed a few questions to Terry Hermsen, editor of O Taste and See and English professor at Otterbein University, and Robin Mullet, OPA member who writes the Muse Clues column for the newsletter and is organizer of the event.

1. Robin, what prompted this workshop to combine food and poetry?
   “Our president, Chuck Salmons, had brought up the idea at an OPA meeting, mentioning that Terry Hermsen and David Lee Garrison had edited and published a food-inspired anthology. I love food poems and those two poets, so I volunteered to organize it.”

2. Terry, how do you believe cooking influences the written word?
   “It's funny how two such seemingly different things as cooking and poetry can actually be so closely connected. But the word 'poet' actually goes back to the word 'maker'. To be a poet means to stir up some ingredients and see how those textures, spices, and substances merge. There are recipes, of course, but it's the invested soul of the writer that makes the meal.”

3. Robin, what do you hope to see happening at this event?
   “First and foremost, I hope people get inspired to write poetry, and secondly, I hope they have fun! I think the hands-on experience of bread making will heighten all of our senses and give our muse a jump start. And the grounds at Glass Rooster Cannery are really lovely.”

4. Robin, what could a newcomer expect from a poetry workshop?
   “If you are new to poetry workshops, you will discover how poets share and care about each other’s work. But you are never forced to share if you don’t wish, so don’t be afraid. I always take something helpful from a workshop even if I don’t write a single decent line that day. Also, poets are some of the most fun people I’ve ever met and we love to eat!”

5. Terry, you were an editor of O Taste and See – Food Poems. Could you recommend any other sources of food-inspired poetry?
   “As for other anthologies, I've only seen a few. But the more recent The Hungry Ear, edited in 2014 by Kevin Young, looks rather fine to me. It includes some of the same poems as the now-out-of-print O Taste and See, and is organized in much the same way with poems gathered around such topics as 'Spices' and 'Meat and Potatoes' and even 'Souplines'. Our anthology was so much fun to put together, but one could go out and create one's own. Food connects to family, history, politics, culture... and to our own individual sense of taste and memory. Who would've thought?”

For info on registration and directions, please visit the OPA website Events page here. The sign up deadline is August 1.

Thanks to the Glass Rooster Cannery for providing this delightful place in which to create. We hope you'll join us to bake up some poetry!

by Logan Morales
OPA Intern

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