I am happy to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for Why I Never Finished My Dissertation by Laura Foley, a book of poetry. Accompanying my review is a version of the popular TikTok Egg Sandwich Hack that made the rounds last year.
Named one of seven Best Indie Poetry Books of 2019 by Kirkus.
Foley’s writing may appear sparse and reserved but it harbors a
subtle power. The poet’s greatest strength is her acute sense of
observation. She possesses the ability to thread sensuousness into the
fabric of everyday life. . .This is a dazzling volume of poetry that
delights in crisp imagery and tender recollections.
Eric Hoffer/Montaigne Medal Finalist
Eric Hoffer/da Vinci Eye Finalist
Eric Hoffer Book Award Honorable Mention
The quest to discover why this poet does not complete a dissertation,
leads to an astonishing read. This collection reveals a wide range of
life-changing experiences beginning with a marriage to a hunchback
Moroccan, almost twice the writer’s age. Other poems express revelations
and observations that arise out of travels, such as a trip to Tehran,
where the poet stands on a bullet-riddled balcony watching a hurried
crowd “spill Khomeini from his coffin.” The signature poem unveils a
suddenly busy domestic life in a second marriage with three young
children and puppies. Toward the end readers experience love which
results in marriage with a same-sex partner. No matter one’s personal
story, what makes a story great is how it is told.
—The US Review of Books
Publisher : Headmistress Press (August 18, 2019)
Paperback : 108 pages
I enjoy poetry but I find that I don't read books of it very often. April is National Poetry Month so I get a poem delivered to my email daily and I write haiku about random things--including summarizing chapters of Jane Austen's novels for one of my virtual buddy read-alongs (yes, I am that strange), but don't think I am qualified to review it at all critically, I can just tell you whether I like a poem or not and if it speaks to me in some way. Laura Foley's poems do. This is the second of her books that I have read and reviewed (see my review of Night Ringing here). Her poems are simple, not especially flowery, and she choses her words with care and percision. The poems are about everyday moments on one hand, but Foley's life has been an interesting one so I find myself somewhat fascinated by it. We don't have a lot in common on paper but I find when a poem leaves me satisfied in its beauty but still wanting to know more about the story behind it, it has done its job. Like Night Ringing, there are strong ties to nature and the poet's observations of the beauty, which I loved.
Below is one of my favorite short poems from the book. I love the imagery of the amiable maple as it conjured up sitting under a favorite tree and enjoying its shade with a good book. With everything that went on in the world over the last year, I found myself often glued to reading and watching the (usually bad) news and I like the point Foley makes that these wonderful parts of life--happy dogs, autumn leaves, holding babies and amiable trees are the current events to be attentive to. (At least that's how it resonated with me!)
I didn't read the news.
I raked a rainbow
of pungent autumn leaves,
played abroad with happy dogs,
held my granddaughter in my arms,
and sat beneath an amiable maple,
attentive to current events.
If you love poetry and poetry that is biographical you will enjoy Why I Never Finished My Dissertation, and if you are new to poetry, it's a great place to start diving in.
Author Notes: Laura Foley is the author of six poetry collections, including Joy
Street, Syringa and Night Ringing. Her poem “Gratitude List” won the
Common Good Books poetry contest and was read by Garrison Keillor on The
Writer’s Almanac. Her poem “Nine Ways of Looking at Light” won the Joe
Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest, judged by Marge Piercy. For more
information on Laura’s work, please visit her website.
So yeah, it's poetry so our food inspiration is a bit limited. But considering that for her last book of poetry, I just bought a cappuccino from my favorite local coffee shop, I can't help feeling I am ahead of the game here! ;-) The food I tagged throughout the book was pomegranates, caviar by the pound, fresh-squeezed red juice, sauerkraut, onions, painting egg whites on rolls, vegetarian, dinner, coffee, an egg sandwich, endless cocktails, a garden harvest of chard, tomatoes, onions and a host of potatoes, champagne, green tea with honey, bread dipped in the finest olive oil, and fried eggs.
I decided to go with a combination of the egg sandwich, fried egg, bread and olive oil mentioned in two of the poems, and also to finally try out the "one-pan egg sandwich" that made the rounds of TikTok a while ago. You basically pour eggs in a pan, top them with bread, turn them over and fold everything into the bread. Not going to lie, the appeal is that it's simple, and having bought a loaf of black pepper Swiss cheese bread last weekend, I had all I needed to make.
I was going to take pictures of the process as I cooked but I realized I didn't bring my phone into the kitchen with me and was too lazy to go get it. If you want to see the technique, here's a good article from Taste of Home that shows the steps. shows.
TikTok Egg Sandwich Hack
Recipe by TikTok and the World
2-3 large fresh eggs
2 pieces of your favorite bread, sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
cheese and other things like bacon, grilled veggies, herbs (optional)
Heat a light coating of olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Whisk eggs in a bowl, then pour them into skillet. Place two sliced of bread on top of the eggs, lining them up so they are aligned vertically in the pan (they need to be lined up like thus since you are folding one piece over the other to make a sandwich). Once the eggs are cooked, carefully flip both the slices of bread over at the same time (so the eggs are now on top). Fold
the overlapping edges of egg onto the bread, place a slice of cheese on
each piece of bread, then flip one slice of bread onto the other to
finish off your sandwich. Reduce heat and let sandwich cook another minute or two to melt the cheese.
Notes/Results: Like reading poetry after a long while, when I eat a good egg sandwich I ask myself why I don't eat them more as a quick dinner. Made this way it is a quick, no mess process that tastes great. I probably over-egged for my small bread but when eating it, I didn't mind. The bread has good flavor on it's own with the Swiss cheese and black pepper and so I used a mild creamy Muenster cheese. I will make it again.
review copy of Why I Never Finished My Dissertation was provided to me by the author and the
publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and
as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.