- How to Make a Biscuit
In class, we talk layers of lines of a poem they don’t like. No one is warmed
by the writer’s voice, the stir and fold as he hid what was sticky and sad. They fault such a sturdy
package when they beg the tendermost centers, crave the shameful butter
of a thousand apologies. My students, they rant for an hour the vast
vacant language, say it’s drab, tamped down, doesn’t melt on their tongues. Too pious, one says
with a snicker. A duckblind, dinky, passive. The group is opposed every halt
as it kneads to the sides of the page. I listen to this long discussion and nothing tastes good.
Ever the host of these ten folks each week, I serve their reading while the sun is still
trusting the sky. They matter and hole the technique, respectable enough, believe the crumbs
the writer laid out are too light, the sift shut up in his hands. They can’t pull the stanzas apart,
feel them soft, see the residue rich on their fingers. Even so, they eat and they eat. [End Page 113]
lauren camp is the author of three books of poetry, most recently One Hundred Hungers. Her work has garnered a Dorset Prize, a Margaret Randall Poetry Prize, an Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award, an Arab American Book Award honorable mention, and a Black Earth Institute Fellowship. She lives in northern New Mexico, where she teaches creative writing to elders.