Five Poems about Food for National Poetry Month

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April is National Poetry Month. Dive into some of these yummy, food-filled works for a flavorful taste of great poetry.

Story by Shannel Whigg


“Sorry I Spilled It” by Shel Silverstein

Everyone’s favorite childhood poet, Shel Silverstein, wrote many poems inspired by and featuring food that are sure to make you giggle. Published in Silverstein’s 1996 book Falling Up, “Sorry I Spilled It” is a classic, sweet little poem that will remind the reader of simpler times. In this poem our very well-meaning narrator makes a bit of a mess, and subverts the readers expectations with a cheeky little twist at the end. Food is never boring in Shel Silverstein’s poems.


“This is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams

This classic poem is the shadiest food poem by far. Reading like a sticky note that one would place on the counter, William Carlos Williams sounds like that roommate whom you hate because they eat your leftovers. Unlike your roommate, he apologizes with this brief poem.  Does he really want forgiveness? Probably not. Those plums were obviously DIVINE.


“The Poet’s Occasional Alternative” by Grace Paley

In “The Poet’s Occasional Alternative”, poet Grace Paley compares making a pie to making poetry.  Everyone loves pie, as we at ORANGE Food & Drink know, but does everyone love poetry? When the pie is gone we will most definitely wish for more, but will people ask for more, lasting poetry?  Sad artists, this one's for you. Eat some pie as you dive into it.


“Persimmons” by Li-Young Lee

In Li-Young Lee’s “Persimmons”, identity and Asian American identity is examined through food.  There is true meditation on the perception of identity within oneself and with the outside world in Lee’s work.  This poem is plump with pieces to pontificate upon and your mouth will water as you imagine the juiciness of a persimmon.


“Nutting” by William Wordsworth

This poem is about going into the forest to pick hazelnuts, you nasty. But don’t take your mind out of the gutter too fast, this poem is teeming with sexual implications in relation to nature and the way she provides and how we treat her in return. Food, nature, sex and poetry, what more could you want!



"The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink" by Kevin Young

If you’ve read all these poems and you want more, but don’t know where to begin, The Hungry Ear is an anthology of work by poets, both well known and obscure, about food and life. Food is a big part of our experiences in the world - through culture, politics and relationships. We all still have to eat and the poets in this anthology have to write. Both food and the words of poets aim to nourish us and these poems will keep you full.