Tuesday, May 9, 2017

DMC: "A Recipe for Poetry" by Brenda Davis Harsham


Preheat the oven.
            Set a deadline.
Measure flour, sugar, eggs.
            Sift emotions, moments, images.
Set mixer to medium.
            Swirl words, rearrange, refine, redefine.
Do not overmix.
            Avoid tunnel vision.
Insert cupcake papers.
            Framework and structure help it rise.
Fill papers to three-quarters. Do not overfill.
            Long division, slice away excess.
            Wait. Garden. Paint sunflowers. Play Vivaldi.
            Start a new project. Do counter-stretches.
            Help the original idea shine.
Top with imagination: sprinkles, sugars, monkey smiles.
             Add jazz, pizzazz, razzle-dazzle.
            Take the words inside.
            Sing them, slam them, ping them, fan them.

© 2017 Brenda Davis Harsham. All rights reserved.

Click HERE to read this month's interview with Melissa Manlove, Senior Editor at Chronicle Books. Her DMC challenge is to write a poem that explores how writing (or a book) is like something else.

Post your poem on our May 2017 padlet. While some contributions will be featured as daily ditties this month, all contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, May 26th. Two lucky participants will win a book published by Chronicle earlier this year: LOVING VS. VIRGINIA by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Shadra Strickland, or LOVE IS by Diane Adams, illustrated by Claire Keane.


  1. Well done breaking this metaphor down into step by step instructions, Brenda! I also love that you not only sift and swirl words, but you slam and ping them too. :)

  2. Such a delight to read this "complete" recipe, Brenda. I enjoyed every part, but especially "Do not overfill". It's priceless advice!

  3. I will be using this recipe to cook up some delicious new poems! I love it 😍

  4. Jesse Anna BornemannMay 9, 2017 at 3:03 PM

    Love all the vibrant verbs in this poem! Great advice, too. I'm always tempted to underbake my poetry and serve it before it has congealed. I like the idea of stepping back, gardening, and playing Vivaldi for a bit.

  5. Simply delicious! Brenda has such a wonderful poetic flair! Counter-stretches made me laugh out loud. Yes, stretch in the middle of cooking up a poem. ha!

  6. 'Frost' and 'Top with Imagination' - two must do's when baking or writing poetry, Brenda.I'm adding 'monkey smiles' to every poem and baked good I create from now on! =)

  7. Fun baked poem Brenda, and I also liked your words slamming and pinging!

  8. Well bless my grits! I love reading recipes (if not always following them . . .)
    And what better recipe than one for US, Brenda? Thank you! I especially love the internal rhyme line with jazz, pizzazz

    You may also like a poem I use with my critique groups, byValerie Linnet, titled "Poetry Loaves."

  9. The perfect recipe. I love the step by step comparisons. Now I'm hungry and want to write.