Alimentum toasts its 5th anniversary with tasty bites from members who regularly sit around its table: Fiction/Nonfiction Editor and Art Director Peter Selgin, Web Editor Eric LeMay, Managing Editor Duane Spencer, Poetry Editor Cortney Davis, Assistant Web Editor Ruth Polleys, Art Director Claudia Carlson, Menupoems Editor Esther Cohen, and Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Paulette Licitra each deliver a morsel. Every course on the menu is nutritious and filling in its own way, but one of my favorites is Selgin’s “The Muffin Man,” a history of and personal treatise about his relationship with that now ubiquitous treat, the muffin. From the “flat, round, spongy, air-filled concoction prepared with yeast-leavened dough and cooked on griddle” (the English muffin) to “granola muffins, cappuccino muffins, strudel muffins, pumpkin, blueberry, applesauce, yogurt, oatmeal, and chocolate chip muffins—muffins whose entire purpose in life seemed to be nothing more or less than denying their muffinhood,” Selgin captures the surprising rise (pun intended) of this American phenomenon.
The Alimentum staff welcomes to the table many talented guests, including poets Ricardo Pau-Llosa and Coleman Hough, and fiction writers Zack Kaplan-Moss, Ann Barry Burrows, and Amy Halloran, among others. Burrows creates a compelling historical narrative in “Long at Table,” which begins with an opening that deftly whets the reader’s appetite for more:
As I clear my throat, all of you point your chins my way, cast the lines of your gaze like I was the mast and we sail together with fair winds and following seas. Raise your glasses and join me in a toast, then I’ll tell you what you cannot imagine: long before I performed around the world on this floating queen of a vessel, I was a twig of a girl overlooked and always hungry. Then came my teachers.
Halloran’s “The Nurse’s Monastery,” is like the best component of repast, nourishing in an understated way, leaving the reader satisfied but a little confused about how these odd ingredients have come together: “I am a nurse but I don’t dress like one because I don’t want people to think I might help them.”
We wash it all down with “Wine” of fine structure and a lingering finish from Pau-Llosa: “This is the clock we welcome. / By sips and gulps are the calendars undone.” And from “Roja Veja”: "beg us not to eat but put aside and ponder / and savor the words of its residue."
Congratulations to Alimentum on five savory years.