Beans and Poems

Back in California, and yesterday morning I spent a couple hours working at the Stanford O'Donahue Family Farm. It was a beautiful morning (as opposed to the greyness and rain we've been having since we returned on Monday) and my task was to husk and sort beans that had been harvested during the autumn and spread out on a table in one of the greenhouses to dry. There must be a zillion varieties of beans, but we had five buckets to sort them into: black beans, larger, black and white beans (like little round dominoes), speckled, elongated, kidney-shaped red and white beans,  tiny darker red beans, and some white beans (not many of these, perhaps a mistake?) It seemed very Mendelian, all these similar but different beans, but I'm not a scientist.

It was restful: grab a pod, open it, aim for the right bucket. Eventually I could recognize from the size, shape and texture of the pod what colour bean I was going to find inside. It's a little like ironing, I thought, keeping your hands busy while your head wanders. I had a companion to talk to, then another couple of companions. We exchanged stories...someone went to feed the chickens and gather eggs: 6 green ones we shared between us, and which we ate for dinner last night, green egg omelet.

Poetry Review Magazine (UK Poetry Society) has a very generous review, by Carol Rumens, of my new book, Hunting the Boarin the current issue: "[Beverley Bie Brahic] has the translator's sixth sense for intertextuality and it deploys it wittily in the mischievous interleavings of 'Two Varieties of Common Figs' the sex needs no fig leaf of metaphor. [...] her aesthetic intellicence fees her fasination with the human encounter...there's a new music in these poems, and while it originates in an oral tradition of story-telling, Brahic translates it brilliantly into the poetic line."