Tuesday, July 3, 2007

We were talking about bacon

We were talking about photography, Alfons the Dutch photographer and I. Specifically, we were talking about food photography and all the crazy, wacky things that food photographers and stylists do to make pizza cheese look gooey or to make bacon look crisp.

(We didn't discuss how they make a lemon meringue pie look extra delectable, but I've heard that tricks are involved there, too.)

Alfons pointed out that when you're cooking bacon, you can smell it and hear it sizzle, and your brain records all of these sensory details so that when the bacon comes to you on a plate and has already begun to dull (Alfons said, "coagulate"), you look past the visual. Your nose and your ears tell you that it's all good.

I came back to that conversation suddenly, while reading "Gravity and Center" by Henri Cole. At the end of the poem, I read:

or the sound of water poured in a bowl.

and I heard it, and I felt so grateful for that.

Perhaps it was the juxtaposition of the sensory and concrete coming after more abstract images. The entire passage reads:

…I want nothing
to reveal feeling but feeling—as in freedom,
or the knowledge of peace in a realm beyond,
or the sound of water poured in a bowl.

but it made me wonder about how much I rely in my poetry on visual stimuli, at the expense of other senses.

Which senses do you use most in your poems? All of them? Which senses do you bring to your readers?

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