My Poem “A History of Hardtack (in One Sentence)” Featured in the “Backstory of a Poem” Series by Christal Rice Cooper…

I am so pleased to announce that my interview with Chrystal Rice Cooper about the creation of my poem “A History of Hardtack (in One Sentence)” has been featured on her blog as part of her  wonderful ongoing series called “BACKSTORY OF THE POEM” (being an uninformed idiot, I just discovered it has already been published for almost a month in the wee hours of this morning). Having interviewed poets myself as part of the Virtual Poetorium, I have to say it was such an honor and a delight to be finally on the other end of the process. You can check out the entire interview along with plenty of relevant photos on her blog here:

In order to entice you to click on the above link, I’m posting the poem here which was the subject of the interview: “A History of Hardtack (in One Sentence)” that first appeared in Silkworm 12: Survival in 2019 (I’m hoping after reading it, you will be intrigued enough to want to learn more about it’s unusual origin)…

A History of Hardtack (in One Sentence)

Centuries ago, twice, thrice, or quadruple baked
rock-like slabs of flour, water, and sometimes salt
known as hardtack, brewis, pilot bread, sea biscuits,
ship’s crackers, (or disparagingly) sheet iron, molar breakers
and worm castles filled the holds of most seafaring vessels
(along with daily rations of beer or rum), sustaining
royal sailors and merchant mariners, pirates and privateers,
whalers and fishermen, sea dogs and old salts,
the hardiest of men, who endured perilous ocean voyages
lasting multiple fortnights crossing the Atlantic
and Pacific through squalls and dead calm,
while I now stand rubber-legged on the bow of a ferry,
clutching a wax paper sleeve of their frail descendants,
unsalted saltines, which I nibble as I sip from a can of flat Coke
in an attempt to quell a tsunami of queasiness in my stomach,
praying to both Neptune and Nabisco that I be allowed
to survive this hour-long excursion across the bay
from Boston Harbor to George’s Island.

—Paul Szlosek (Originally Published in Silkworm 12: Survival)

Thanks so much for reading!

12 thoughts on “My Poem “A History of Hardtack (in One Sentence)” Featured in the “Backstory of a Poem” Series by Christal Rice Cooper…

  1. Paul, the link took me to her page, but not to your post. I did find it with some searching though. I love the poem and getting the “backstory” is a unique view for the admiring reader. Loved the photos, especially with Captain at your side. Well deserved and long overdue that you be at the end of the questions for once.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Brad! As always, you are very kind!

      I also appreciate you telling me about the faulty link. I apologize that you had to go through so much trouble to find the page with my interview. I also, on my own, discovered that the link was not connecting to the correct page, but I wasn’t sure why. I ended up redoing it, and it seems to be working fine now….

      Liked by 1 person

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