I scooped up this slim book of poetry from a delightful bookstore (Bluestockings Bookstore) on a recent trip to NYC. It was part of a turn out feature and I was intrigued by the cover and randomly flipping to a poem within the collection and immediately deciding, “Yes! I must have this!”
The collection is designed to follow a multiple course dinner menu and is broken into the following sections: Apertif, First Course, Second Course, Third Course, and Digestif. Some of the poems play up thematics of menus and cookbooks, with some poems being recipes for broken hearts that include some real ingredients (black pepper) and some nontraditional ingredients (tears).
This poems are largely about heartbreak, losing someone, grief, sharing yourself with another, and recovery, with bits of Russian, the language and cultural experiences and references, sprinkled in here and there.
My favorite poems in the collection were, in chronological order: Chamomile, Spidersilk, The Serbo-Croation Language Uses the Same Word čičak for Burdock and Velcro, Dorian Gray, and the poem that shares the collection’s title, Salt is for Curing.
Here’s a small bit from Salt is for Curing:
… Self preservation is an art and I
a masterpiece. The kind of thing you bow before
in museums but cross the street to avoid.
haunted. Exactly. Maybe like a spice jar that’s holding
more inside than volume would suggest possible. My
little tin lid fits snug but the pressure
is really something …
Here’s a small bit from Spidersilk (in full here):
… This is how you look when I spread myself before you like a picnic:
here a little bottle of what makes me cry most, a glass
dish of my greatest fears, a ton of mille-feuille folded
from the kind of trust that gives your bones an earthquake,
sugared with the weight of my lashes on your shoulder as you sleep …
Publication Date: 13 November 2015 by Sator Press. Format: Paperback.
Poet: Sonya Vatomsky web/@twitter/@instagram