Anne Sexton Rosemary Bread, and Her Kind

In honor of National Poetry Month I’ve decided to highlight some of my favorite poems and poets.

First up, of course, is Anne Sexton (who else could possibly be first?).

Sexton

I came across Sexton in college and it was love at first word. I loved the images that flashed through my mind as I read her work but mostly, I loved how her words felt on my lips as I read out loud, how each syllable lingered, how rich each letter felt, how full and thick and heavy.

My favorite poem is Her Kind. I almost shiver when reading it, it is so stark yet powerful, so dark yet strong.

Reading Sexton today made me hungry for something heavy and nourishing, something undeniably female, so of course I made a loaf of bread. There’s something magical about kneading dough, how it starts out stiff and slowly softens beneath your palms, how it almost breathes.

Today’s loaf turned out dense and full and strong, a perfect metaphor for Sexton’s work. Slathered with butter, the rosemary gave a twist of flavor that lingered in my mouth, much like a poem.

Anne Sexton Rosemary Whole Wheat Bread

–Cup Almond milk

–Packet of yeast

–2 tablespoons honey

–2 tablespoons olive oil

–teaspoon salt

–2 cups whole wheat flour

–1 cup unbleached white flour

–2 tablespoons fresh or dried rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine warm milk/water with yeast, honey and oil. In a separate bowl mix salt, flours and rosemary. Fold into yeast mixture, mix and then knead. I coat my hands with margarine while kneading to add a subtle buttery flavor to the bread.

Knead for a good 10 minutes.

Place dough into a bowl, cover with a dishtowel and let sit in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.

Punch it down, knead for a couple more minutes, place in a greased bread pan, cover and let rise for another 30 minutes or so. You’ll know it’s ready when it’s expanded to double in size.

Slide in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes, remove the bread from the pan, slice, slater on the margarine and eat while reading your favorite Anne Sexton poem.

Finished Bread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,

haunting the black air, braver at night;

dreaming evil, I have done my hitch

over the plain houses, light by light:

lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.

A woman like that is not a woman, quite.

I have been her kind.

 

I have found the warm caves in the woods,

filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,

closets, silks, innumerable goods;

fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:

whining, rearranging the disaligned.

A woman like that is misunderstood.

I have been her kind.

 

I have ridden in your cart, driver,

waved my nude arms at villages going by,

learning the last bright routes, survivor

where your flames still bite my thigh

and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.

A woman like that is not ashamed to die.

I have been her kind.

 

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