This chapbook from Split Lip Press overwhelms with its genius use of food imagery

Two cats cuddling with a light pink book on top of them, Sam Herschel Wein’s chapbook Fruit Mansion.
Two cats cuddling with a light pink book on top of them, Sam Herschel Wein’s chapbook Fruit Mansion.
My cats, Mike and Zelda, also love poetry.

Fruit Mansion © 2017, Sam Herschel Wein
Winner, 2016 Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest
46 pages.
Published by Split Lip Press.
www.splitlippress.com
Cover art by Anya Liao.

One thing I know for sure is that good recipes have balance and good writing does, too.

As someone that often freelances and writes about food, I love when food imagery pops up in creative writing. Extraordinarily so, when poetry uses culinary methods and ingredients to illustrate a point, feeling, or memory. These kinds of pieces quickly become a favorite.

Food(s) mentioned: cantaloupe, ketchup, Kraft macaroni and cheese, potatoes, (corn) cob, butter, spaghetti, hot pepper, sausage, pineapple, asparagus, passionfruit, artichoke, banana, guava, heirloom tomato, coffee beans, mustard seeds, bread, bagel, rice, egg salad, fish, arugula, seaweed, clam, salad, pink grapefruit…


Photo by the author. It’s me, at nineteen, absolutely geekin’ on the steps of the NYPL.

It’s kind of wild — that moment of realization that your taste in cocktails and affinity to ingest them at any given moment, whether it’s a romantic or dive-y environment, isn’t the center point of your personality anymore. Who was I before that influenced all my decision making?

Personally, I was a bookish, sentimental little goon of a woman… and now that I’m sober, like magic — I am her all over again. Simply put: I missed her.

In my limited experience, sobriety has forced me to get to know myself again. I’ve shifted my focus and energy into things…


It isn’t even worth a hate-watch anymore

Photo by Vanessa Serpas on Unsplash

Can I steal you for a second?

The first episode of the Bachelor franchise aired March 25th, 2002. ‘Bachelor Nation’ was yet to be coined to describe dedicated fans of its many spin-offs. Before online dating was largely normalized, and way before Instagram’s inception and all of the drama online communication inevitably caused (I’m looking at you, Blake), Alex Michel was the first Bachelor to court twenty five women on national television. Since then the stars, Bachelor and Bachelorette alike, have been exceedingly white. They don’t boast an impressive ratio of resulting couples…


It’s a low-effort, high-impact trick I use whenever I want to drink

Photo by blocks on Unsplash

Picture it: it’s 7 p.m. — you’ve been sober for a few days, weeks, months and you feel like you definitely 200% have a handle on it this time. You can have, no deserve to treat yourself to a cocktail, beer, glass of wine, or two. Or ten. You’re quietly and ashamedly worried that you might fail at moderating — like you have done so many times before. Take a beat, close your eyes, make a conscious effort to feel present in your body, and attempt to quiet the noise.

Listening to music can (and in my personal experience, will)…


The ultimate battle in restaurants is ego vs. empathy

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Until a year ago, I worked as a server for an “elevated” neighborhood restaurant. We had a $25 ravioli dish on the menu, to give you a better idea — a beyond decadent black truffle ricotta ravioli with sweet corn. Before that, I worked for three of Chicago’s large restaurant groups. I thrived in high-volume environments where 350–600 guests would walk through the door.

I moved to a new city and got thrown in the middle of it. I worked at a place that was fully committed with reservations three months in advance. …


Danler’s stunning memoir held my heart in its hands, broke me, and put me back together again

No one would say I gravitate toward “happy books.”

Oh, hey. I’m still here.

Brief life update: I have been training at a library for a month now. I have been shelving and checking out for myself and others — so. many. books. I have also been significantly more “offline” than I was before. Both for mental health purposes and simply because I am now out of the house ~20 hours a week. But I intend to keep this up, mostly for myself. ;)

Stephanie Danler’s ‘Stray’ was on display at the library. I walked by it every day and since it has been on my TBR list for…


Exciting development: I am now reading some chapbook ARCs from indie presses

Long ago at a bookshop in Chicago. I am reading The Blind Assassin here.

And it rules. Honestly, chapbooks are my favorite.

I had the pleasure of reading four microchaps from Sword & Kettle Press’ series Cup & Dagger which will be released and available to purchase on March 1st. They are stunners and modern feminist takes on fairytales. All my favorite things wrapped up into one.

Today, I am reading through and blown away by Viscera Americana by Abigail Swoboda that is being published by Thirty West Publishing House. I purchased Little Feasts by Jules Archer from them last year and as the title might suggest, I devoured it. They also have a chapbook contest going on right now.

I have…


I have had this book for so long and finally read it

I must have watched the Ted Talk at some point. I debated whether or not I should write this, but I have committed to writing a little something about everything I read this year. So, here we go.

I scrolled over to Goodreads to see what other people think. It has a pretty high rating, 4.44 stars, but the more recent comments concern the author’s support of J.K Rowling’s anti-trans essay.

Honestly, yikes.

It is my personal opinion that this book didn’t really teach me anything new. …


Feminism must be intersectional, but it must also be a slew of other things, too

Feminism for the 99% © 2019, Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, and Nancy Fraser
96 pages.
Published by Verso Books.

“A feminism that is truly anti-racist and anti-imperialist must also be anticapitalist.”

In 2012, when I got my degree in Gender and Women’s Studies it was essentially by accident. Up until that year, the option to receive a Bachelor’s in that field didn't exist. So, I declared creative writing my major and whenever I saw the opportunity to take a class in the GWS department, I did.

The new knowledge I gleaned from feminist and LGBT studies ended up assisting me in my English classes…


These tiny, lyrical vignettes are the perfect antidote for lost inspiration

Image courtesy of moi. A tiny bit of water damage due to reading in the tub (obviously).

Moon Crumbs © 2019, Sheila Dong
32 pages.
Published by Bottlecap Press.
Buy it here for $8.
Cover art by Carolyn Supinko.

I have been in a funk. I started this little page and have been steadily buying books and am honestly in the middle of about five of them. So, here we are, another blurb about something short and sweet.

The title Moon Crumbs by Sheila Dong immediately captured my attention but the description on the back guaranteed I purchase it. It reads:

“So what are moon crumbs? Call them prose poems, call them lyrical vignettes, call them snacks for the soul, sprinkled down from a luminous place.”

It’s one…

Alicia Banaszewski

Writer (she/her) of the foodish, bookish, & feminist. Author of Bright Blue (poetry) Dancing Girl Press / Website: www.aliciabanaszewski.com / Twitter: @b___ski

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