Every taste the tongue seeks and savors — salt, sour, bitter, sweet — even umami, the fifth taste, itself the savory — is summoned forth for us in Diane Lockward’s rich second book of poems, What Feeds Us (Wind Publications, 2006). Mistress of diction, she relishes each word, and so these poems ravish ear and eye, heart and mind. The book’s epigraph is a line by the famed gastronome M.F.K. Fisher: “. . . there is nourishment in the heart, to feed the wilder, more insistent hungers.” We are prepared for passion. Passions.
And what passions does Lockward explore? Not merely the familiar hungers of tongue and belly, but also hungers for the fiery lover’s touch; for courage before the sting of “King Bee”; for forgiveness for her own seldom-wielded sting; for solace, and for healing. Against her meditative sense of loss, she balances the bristle of irony and bad-girl delight in the wicked. She seduces us with love and linguini, with split vanilla bean and sun-glorious blooms that testify to the world’s abundance. “O taste and see”: the Psalmist’s call rings from these pages as they celebrate pang and pleasure, the butter on our fingers, the blood that feeds the body.
Causes Diane Lockward Supports
The Frost Place
The Innocence Project