Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul:
Northampton is the home of many of the best eateries in the nation. And Northampton is the birthplace of some of the best poetry being written today.
Is it any wonder? Great Food and Great Poetry have always gone together. Chefs can work from the same basic ingredients, but how they mix them together makes all the difference. Poets have words at their disposal, but each assembles them in his or her own way.
As Northampton's current Northampton Poet Laureate, I want to celebrate what makes our city special; and just the fact that we have a Poet Laureate shows how seriously we take our arts (though dressing in drag as Emily Dickinson to host last year's Transperformance-Food Groups was far from my own most dignified engagement).
During the last two weeks of April, which is national Poetry Month, most all Northampton area Restaurants/Caf?s/Bakeries/Ice Cream Shops/Bars will feature a poem about food written by a local Northampton area poet. These will be printed on their menu or chalk board, or copied and stacked on their counters, or placed in their windows. No one will be able to eat out in Northampton without encountering poetry!
I like to thank the Restaurants for wholeheartedly supporting this crazy idea-almost all got back to me with an enthusiastic "yes" well before I figured out exactly what we were planning. And all offered generous free meals/desserts/drinks to their "house poet."
Participating poets include Richard Wilbur, a national treasure and previous US Poet Laureate, as well as 4 previous Northampton Poets Laureate, and 35 additional poets.
Remember to Eat Local and Read Local --- A list of participating Restaurants and Poets is below.
I'd be happy to speak with you all about this and other Poet Laureate Projects if you are interested. Many of the poets will also be available for interviews.
My email is RM@RMichelson.com or Rich@RichardMichelson.com
Thanks, Rich Michelson
A good meal like a good poem can give us sustenance, or transport us to another place, or remind us of our childhoods. Let's bring Poetry back to the common table.