14 October 2009

The Garden of Eternal Swallows

"This cronopio's wild-artichoke clock is a good artichoke of the larger species, fastened by its stem to a hole in the wall. Its innumerable leaves indicate what hour it is... every day the cronopio begins pulling off a new layer of leaves. when he reaches the center, time cannot be measured, and in the infinite violet-rose of the artichoke heart the cronopio finds great contentment."
Julio Cortázar

Karen Elizabeth Gordon is best known as a soigné grammarian, whose cortege of fanciful characters provide definitions, usage and a fine old time in the world of words. Her book include The Disheveled Dictionary, The Ravenous Muse and The Transitive Vampire. What many people do not know -- Karen Elizabeth Gordon's first book was a cookbook.

The Garden of Eternal Swallows offers up poetic refections. Gordon says her cookbook is about:
"the earth as a basis for fight. And about art as a territory of life: gravity plus imagination, rainbow over barn."
Here is an example of Gordon's poetry.

Eaten Alive By Time
how to enjoy an artichoke

artichokes, 1 per person
whole cloves of garlic
teaspoon of basil
pinch of thyme
teaspoon at least of olive oil
salt, pepper
sprigs of parsley

Wash artichokes. Remove the outer leaves, the loss of a few minutes at most. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add everything named. Cook artichokes until tender, an undetermined length of time, which only you can tell, being there, and interested, and sampling an occasional leaf. Serve hot or cold with anything your heart desires. Find contentment.

If you love food, poetry, and language, rush out and find this book.

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