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Reading “After Preparing the Altar, the Ghosts Feast Feverishly” by Jane Wong



Poetry Lunch S4E4

Reading “After Preparing the Altar, the Ghosts Feast Feverishly” by Jane Wong from How to Not Be Afraid of Everything, Alice James Books.


I love the overflowing reek and revel in this poem. The so-much-ness of hunger and all the decay that comes with time, with disuse, with plentitude. And how there can be plenty from little, from deep description of everyday things. I like the idea of our ancestors gorging themselves on our unsureness and spitting back out the bits of their hard won known, just bones though, and still all questions.

There are so many issues in our world rooted in wanting more. This poem gives us more and then some, grosses us out a little with too much, keeps going, forcing sudden pauses and grinding fresh verbs: to yolk like an egg. To pepper like the plant.

And this question! “What is love if not rot?”

I don’t know what that means but it makes me shudder a bit and want to keep loving despite. Happy all hallows eve, I hope you tend your ghosts well, say hello, maybe invite your ancestors to feast too. What would you feed them?


PS obviously I was annoyed with the distraction from Mabel but you know, maybe she really liked the poem. She likes all kinds of gnarly gross smelling stuff. Will lick it if given the chance. Somehow appropriate she made her presence known!


Related print

I created this print in conversation with Jane for an art show she did at the Frye Art Museum centered around this poem. It was a rad installation. My memory of it is all cast in a warm yet eerie pinkish neon hue from one of the big pieces. I don't remember why I decided to add the gold line but I do remember the painstaking process of setting it up and printing it at my friend Dave Myhre's shop, Duckabush Bindery. He is a king of hot stamping and was so excited at the chance to set up one of his production foilers and show me how to run it. It's kind of like printing only upside down and you have to worry about dwell (the amount of time the form is in contact with the paper) and heat along with pressure. An alchemical process indeed and felt appropriate for this print that rides between the worlds.


Links to purchase

Get the book: How to Not Be Afraid of Everything and the print: Astonished Enough.