“food has supplanted and been conflated with happiness in my
brain — let me cook for you
let me eat with you”
In the “Aperitif” of Hannah Raymond-Cox’s Amuse Girl, the poet writes, “A good poem is a little touch of a big idea.” She most certainly delivers on this idea with the poems in this collection, offering readers a bite of each moment, each emotion, each course of a meal.
Amuse Girl, a play on the French amuse-gueule, provides a menu in lieu of a traditional table of contents: the amuse-gueules, dinner service, libations, and courses. But Raymond-Cox doesn’t stop there in bringing a full meal to life through this book. Each poem, too, plays off of a dish, a utensil, or a full course. From Gin Meringue to Carving Knife and Salad (quoted above) to a final After Dinner Mint, this collection is truly a literary-culinary experience.
Still, there is so much more to these poems, and this book in its entirety, than just food and drink. The reader finds themself met with images of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and cobblestone streets, sex scenes and outbreaks of disease. As opposing as so many of these moments may seem, they’re brought together beautifully; every poem marries its food-related theme to those images that would otherwise seem to come out of nowhere.