“Writing and reading is to me synonymous with existing.”
If I was ever asked who I would like to spend an afternoon with, I would choose Gertrude Stein. After all, she lived in Paris surrounded by all that she loved best – art, music, poetry, food and wine. Her residence at the salon, 27 rue de Fleurus on the Left Bank, was a gathering place for the “new moderns,” the talented young artists who would help define the idea of modernism in literature and art. Imagine what it would be like to experience the conversations of Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Claribel & Etta Cone, James Joyce, Thornton Wilder, in the formative stages of the modernist movement. Her salon was indeed “A Moveable Feast” just as Ernest Hemingway described.
Gertrude Stein had very little use for the narrative, linear and time-orientated conventions of 19th century literature. A self-proclaimed genius, she preferred to experiment in her writing. Her poetry is not easy to read or understand, but there is drama, wit and boldness in her choice of words. Many believe that she was creating portraits with words, much like Picasso was with paints.
To celebrate National Poetry Month, I chose Christian Bérard which is focused on food and eating. I confess, it is easy to stumble over the words, but I found the more I read this poem aloud, the more I appreciated the nuances. Since I have not included the full poem, I would encourage you to explore it at Poetry Foundation, an excellent resource for poetry.
By Gertrude Stein
Eating is her subject.
While eating is her subject.
Where eating is her subject. Continue reading