There is poetry in cooking, and there is cooking in the writing of poetry. Both require science, art, observation. Both require an approach that is – to some extent – a combination of military thinking and creative thinking. A sense of when to obey the laws, bend the laws, break them, rewrite them, be served by them.
Each poem – like each recipe – requires a different approach, process, procedure. Maybe you jot down ideas, plan it out ahead of time. Maybe you listen to something deep inside of yourself and follow it, go by the feeling instead of a recipe. Maybe you just wing it, see what happens, end up with timeless gold, or some compost to throw on the pile.
One time it comes like a flash in a pan, and any further tinkering might disrupt the integrity of the thing. Another time it requires marinating, a longer cooking time, a good deal of stirring, a few adjustments. The end result might be complex or simple, opulent or thrifty.
Cooking or poetry, ingredients or language. In either case, a transformation has occurred. Something has developed, something that wasn’t there before.
Poetry and cooking: you will be cut, burned, exhausted, thrilled, fed. You will feel alive.