August 19, 2008KR BlogUncategorized

We Interrupt This Blog for a Cocktail

In honor of summer’s not-yet-ending, let’s have a drink, courtesy of poet Jennifer Chang. Her poem “River Pilgrims” appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of KR.

jennifer chang

Each year, Jennifer puts her cocktail-slinging skills to the test at the close of Kundiman‘s Asian American poetry retreat. Here is her account of this year’s summer concoction:

“For five years now, Kundiman has hosted an Asian American poetry summer retreat at the University of Virginia. Emerging poets from around the country apply for eighteen fellowship spots to study with three master poets. Fellows and faculty alike spend all day–often from 9am to 9pm, often in 90 degree weather–in workshops, craft talks, mentoring sessions, spark exercises, poetics lectures, and professional practicuums. By the end of four days, we are all sleep-deprived, giddy with community spirit, and delirious on poetry, and yet we are all ready to test the limits of our exhaustion with a dance party. So two years ago, on behalf of the staff, I decided to start a new tradition and invent a cocktail to honor our hard-working fellows and faculty, who make the experience not only so very rewarding but also so very jubilant. This one came to me as Sarah Gambito and I were getting lost in one of Charlottesville’s massive grocery stores. She wanted to name it after a Chinese word from a Tan Lin poem that only Bei Dao could pronounce correctly. I can’t even remember what the word meant. But since I was pouring the drinks I named it after a fellow, a marvelous poet and dear friend, who was sadly absent this year and who was such a big help with the cocktail I invented at last year’s retreat, None of Your Goddamn Business. (I’m not being cheeky–that’s the name of the drink, which is in fact none of your goddamn business.)”

The Matthew Olzmann
official cocktail of the 2008 Kundiman Asian American Poetry Retreat

? cup Absolut Pear Vodka
? cup pomegranate juice
lemon-lime soda
a wedge of lime

Fill a lowball glass with ice and combine vodka and juice. Top off the glass with lemon-lime soda and garnish with lime.

Jennifer Chang’s first book, The History of Anonymity, recently arrived from the Virginia Quarterly Review Poetry Series from the University of Georgia.

[Photo by Simon Weaver]