An AMZ poetry moment.

From the New York Times Magazine, Terrance Hayes’s Poem column: “Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth” (in print 5/6, on-line 5/4), by Aimee Nezhukumatathil:

Too many needles spoil the cloth.
Too many parrots spoil the talk.
Too many chapped lips spoil the gloss.
Too many teasel burs spoil the paw.
Too many bubbles spoil the froth.
Too many doorbells spoil the knock.
Too many seeds spoil the floss.
Too many feathers spoil the claw.
Too many lightbulbs spoil the moth.
Too many holes spoil the sock.
Too many sunbeams spoil the moss.
Too many kisses spoil the jaw.
Too many wolves spoil the flock.
Too many necks spoil the block.

All edgy domesticity until the end, when ravening wolves and beheadings erupt.

Hayes on the poem:

This breezy poem isn’t as breezy as it appears. Benign bubbles, sunbeams and kisses bounce among holes, necks on the block and wolves. Is it a coincidence that its end rhymes rhyme with squawk, for example? [For me, it’s a half-rhyme, squawk / broth / cloth / talk / etc. – knock / sock / flock / block, parallel to caught – cot.] Its lines flit with an improvisatory gloss — another correlating rhyme. It might all be nursery rhyme were it not for the foreboding “too many” … and the recurring “spoil” (with its toil and trouble). It’s a bewitching poem. A spell.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.

A note on the poet:

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is … the author of four collections of poetry, including “Oceanic,” published by Copper Canyon Press last month.

From Wikipedia, more details:

Aimee Nezhukumatathil (born in Chicago, Illinois) is an American poet, best known for her jovial and accessible reading style and lush descriptions of exotic foods and landscapes. Nezhukumatathil draws upon her Filipina and Malayali [South] Indian background to give a unique perspective on love and loss, and the land.

Nezhukumatathil received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Ohio State University. … She is professor of English in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.

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