Wednesday, June 5, 2019

#108 Backstory of the Poem "Cupcake' by Julene Tripp Weaver

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***This is the #108 in the never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific poem and how the poet wrote that specific poem.  All BACKSTORY OF THE POEM links are at the end of this piece. 

#108 Backstory of the Poem
by Julene Tripp Weaver
Can you go through the step-by-step process of writing this poem from the moment the idea was first conceived in your brain until final form? 
This poem was conceived in a writing workshop in Dufur, Oregon lead by poet Penelope Scambly Schott. It was my first workshop with her and the theme was Riding Our Obsessions.
     The first assignment was to write about our personal obsessions; make a list of three things you don’t care about, and three things you care about very deeply, and two that you ever thought you’d be willing to die for. She phrased obsession as something that free floats in your mind when you are not occupied with something else. She asked, what is it you think about and what do you hate thinking about. Is there a surprise? If so, add them together and write.
  I love a particular cupcake company in Seattle, I love my partner, and I love food. I’m not a huge fan of math and so I wrote a love poem to my partner equating him with a particular seasonal cupcake offered on Father’s Day. The poem had references to math and originally more on love not being an equation one could calculate. I also brought in Adam & Eve, the quintessential couple.

Where were you when you started to actually write the poem? And please describe the place in great detail. At the Balch Hotel, a renovated hotel that faces the east side of Mt. Hood, about 85 miles from Portland, Oregon. (  The hotel has been renovated to its original décor of the era, it was built in 1907. 

      I don’t remember if I wrote this poem in my room or downstairs in one of the antique lobby couches, since I wrote in both places throughout the workshop. It is a lovely space to write and think. I wrote with a pen in a notebook, which is how my poems usually start, I keep a journal in process, and then I go to the computer to move writing out of my journal onto the page. 

What month and year did you start writing this poem? October 2008

How many drafts of this poem did you write before going to the final? (And can you share a photograph of your rough drafts with pen markings on it?)
I don’t keep draft revisions, but this poem went through at least three, maybe four, drafts, some poems have many more drafts, this one felt fast.

Were there any lines in any of your rough drafts of this poem that were not in the final version? And can you share them with us? I still have the original draft, so from that some lines removed:
He looks good. Like a cupcake— (changed to: He’s a cupcake)

in math there is always the addition
and multiples compiled with hormones it becomes
a complex formula accelerated beyond algebra (removed)

Originally at the end I had: He looks delicious. (changed to He’s delicious.)

What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem? It’s a light love poem, so I hope people take a warm loving feeling and a smile. Also hope that it helps foster the belief that love can be found.

Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why?
It was a delicious and fun poem to write. The most emotional part was the warming towards my long term partner while away at a writing retreat.

Has this poem been published before? And if so where?
Cupcake is published in my first full size poetry book, No Father Can Save Her, Plain View Press, 2011.
      In 2015 Couth Buzzard Books Espresso Buono Cafe, a local bookstore, was posting a daily poem on their Facebook page for National Poetry Month and invited me to submit. Because they were okay with a published poem, and because I had read from this book at this bookstore, I sent Cupcake, on April 16, 2015 it was on their feed.

Anything you would like to add? At the time, I was in a critique group with two poets, Ruth Bavetta (CA) and Nina Bennett (DE,) who I met through Goodreads. We did a monthly conference calls, sending our poems to each other in advance. I worked through this poem with them to its final outcome. Some of the feedback they gave: tighten the first line, with a reminder that a metaphor is always stronger than a simile. They pointed out plural versus singular around cupcakes and bites. They suggested that having the two metaphors was an overreach for such a short poem. Their feedback helped me remove words and find a better image for the baseball cap, which I had originally written as ‘holding,’ the word ‘settling’ was suggested as the action that is typical of a man readjusting his hat. This group was very helpful and I believe it is imperative for poets to create a support system to work with for feedback.


He’s a cupcake, one of those
Father’s Day specials—chocolate
with caramel drizzle across the top.
Yum. Can’t help but equate men with food,
what new restaurant to try next,
but dream cupcakes are only figments—
small bites that walk away into sunsets
settling their baseball caps.

Romantic, eating in candlelight
across from the one who always shows.
It’s not true there’s one man for every woman—
Adam and Eve only a metaphor—double
equations don’t work outside of math.
But somehow I found that one man
in a complex formula where chemistry
and heat equal alchemy.
He’s delicious.

     Julene Tripp Weaver, a native New Yorker, is a psychotherapist and writer in Seattle, WA. She has a chapbook, Case Walking: An AIDS Case Manager Wails Her Blues, and two full size collections, No Father Can Save Her, and her latest, truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS, published by Finishing Line Press, 2016. 
     Truth be bold was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards, won the Bisexual Book Award, and four Human Relations Indie Book Awards in 2017; this book is being taught at LIU-Brooklyn, first in a class on Art Inspired by the AIDS Epidemic, and ongoing in a Western Literature class where it is compared to Walt Whitman’s work in the field during war time. Julene worked 21 years in AIDS services. You can find more of her work online, a few include: The Seattle Review of BooksHIV Here & NowVoices in the WindAntinarrative Journal, MadSwirl, and Writing in a Woman's Voice.


001  December 29, 2017
Margo Berdeshevksy’s “12-24”

002  January 08, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café”

003 January 12, 2018
Barbara Crooker’s “Orange”

004 January 22, 2018
Sonia Saikaley’s “Modern Matsushima”

005 January 29, 2018
Ellen Foos’s “Side Yard”

006 February 03, 2018
Susan Sundwall’s “The Ringmaster”

007 February 09, 2018
Leslea Newman’s “That Night”

008 February 17, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher “June Fairchild Isn’t Dead”

009 February 24, 2018
Charles Clifford Brooks III “The Gift of the Year With Granny”

010 March 03, 2018
Scott Thomas Outlar’s “The Natural Reflection of Your Palms”

011 March 10, 2018
Anya Francesca Jenkins’s “After Diane Beatty’s Photograph “History Abandoned”

012  March 17, 2018
Angela Narciso Torres’s “What I Learned This Week”

013 March 24, 2018
Jan Steckel’s “Holiday On ICE”

014 March 31, 2018
Ibrahim Honjo’s “Colors”

015 April 14, 2018
Marilyn Kallett’s “Ode to Disappointment”

016  April 27, 2018
Beth Copeland’s “Reliquary”

017  May 12, 2018
Marlon L Fick’s “The Swallows of Barcelona”

018  May 25, 2018

019  June 09, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “Stiletto Killer. . . A Surmise”

020 June 16, 2018
Charles Rammelkamp’s “At Last I Can Start Suffering”

021  July 05, 2018
Marla Shaw O’Neill’s “Wind Chimes”

022 July 13, 2018
Julia Gordon-Bramer’s “Studying Ariel”

023 July 20, 2018
Bill Yarrow’s “Jesus Zombie”

024  July 27, 2018
Telaina Eriksen’s “Brag 2016”

025  August 01, 2018
Seth Berg’s “It is only Yourself that Bends – so Wake up!”

026  August 07, 2018
David Herrle’s “Devil In the Details”

027  August 13, 2018
Gloria Mindock’s “Carmen Polo, Lady Necklaces, 2017”

028  August 21, 2018
Connie Post’s “Two Deaths”

029  August 30, 2018
Mary Harwell Sayler’s “Faces in a Crowd”

030 September 16, 2018
Larry Jaffe’s “The Risking Point”

031  September 24, 2018
Mark Lee Webb’s “After We Drove”

032  October 04, 2018
Melissa Studdard’s “Astral”

033 October 13, 2018
Robert Craven’s “I Have A Bass Guitar Called Vanessa”

034  October 17, 2018
David Sullivan’s “Paper Mache Peaches of Heaven”

035 October 23, 2018
Timothy Gager’s “Sobriety”

036  October 30, 2018
Gary Glauber’s “The Second Breakfast”

037  November 04, 2018
Heather Forbes-McKeon’s “Melania’s Deaf Tone Jacket”

038 November 11, 2018
Andrena Zawinski’s “Women of the Fields”

039  November 00, 2018
Gordon Hilger’s “Poe”

040 November 16, 2018
Rita Quillen’s “My Children Question Me About Poetry” and “Deathbed Dreams”

041 November 20, 2018
Jonathan Kevin Rice’s “Dog Sitting”

042 November 22, 2018
Haroldo Barbosa Filho’s “Mountain”

043  November 27, 2018
Megan Merchant’s “Grief Flowers”

044 November 30, 2018
Jonathan P Taylor’s “This poem is too neat”

045  December 03, 2018
Ian Haight’s “Sungmyo for our Dead Father-in-Law”

046 December 06, 2018
Nancy Dafoe’s “Poem in the Throat”

047 December 11, 2018
Jeffrey Pearson’s “Memorial Day”

048  December 14, 2018
Frank Paino’s “Laika”

049  December 15, 2018
Jennifer Martelli’s “Anniversary”

O50  December 19, 2018
Joseph Ross’s For Gilberto Ramos, 15, Who Died in the Texas Desert, June 2014”

051 December 23, 2018
“The Persistence of Music”
by Anatoly Molotkov

052  December 27, 2018
“Under Surveillance”
by Michael Farry

053  December 28, 2018
“Grand Finale”
by Renuka Raghavan

054  December 29, 2018
by Gene Barry

055 January 2, 2019
by Larissa Shmailo

056  January 7, 2019
“The Seamstress:
by Len Kuntz

057  January 10, 2019
"Natural History"
by Camille T Dungy

058  January 11, 2019
by Brian Burmeister

059  January 12, 2019
by Clint Margrave

060 January 14, 2019
by Pat Durmon

061 January 19, 2019
“Neptune’s Choir”
by Linda Imbler

062  January 22, 2019
“Views From the Driveway”
by Amy Barone

063  January 25, 2019
“The heron leaves her haunts in the marsh”
by Gail Wronsky

064  January 30, 2019
by Terry Lucas

065 February 02, 2019
“Summer 1970, The University of Virginia Opens to Women in the Fall”
by Alarie Tennille

066 February 05, 2019
“At School They Learn Nouns”
by Patrick Bizzaro

067  February 06, 2019
“I Must Not Breathe”
by Angela Jackson-Brown

068 February 11, 2019
“Lunch on City Island, Early June”
by Christine Potter

069 February 12, 2019
by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum

070 February 14, 2019
“Daily Commute”
by Christopher P. Locke

071 February 18, 2019
“How Silent The Trees”
by Wyn Cooper

072 February 20, 2019
“A New Psalm of Montreal”
by Sheenagh Pugh

073 February 23, 2019
“Make Me A Butterfly”
by Amy Barbera

074 February 26, 2019
by Sandy Coomer

075 March 4, 2019
“Shape of a Violin”
by Kelly Powell

076 March 5, 2019
“Inward Oracle”
by J.P. Dancing Bear

077 March 7, 2019
“I Broke My Bust Of Jesus”
by Susan Sundwall

078 March 9, 2019
“My Mother at 19”
by John Guzlowski

079 March 10, 2019
by Chera Hammons Miller

080 March 12, 2019
“Of Water and Echo”
by Gillian Cummings

081   082   083    March 14, 2019
“Little Political Sense”   “Crossing Kansas with Jim
Morrison”  “The Land of Sky and Blue Waters”
by Dr. Lindsey Martin-Bowen

084 March 15, 2019
“A Tune To Remember”
by Anna Evans

085 March 19, 2019
“At the End of Time (Wish You Were Here)
by Jeannine Hall Gailey

086 March 20, 2019
“Garden of Gethsemane”
by Marletta Hemphill

087 March 21, 2019
“Letters From a War”
by Chelsea Dingman

088 March 26, 2019
by Bob Heman

089 March 27, 2019
“Clay for the Potter”
by Belinda Bourgeois

#090 March 30, 2019
“The Pose”
by John Hicks

#091 April 2, 2019
“Last Night at the Wursthaus”
by Doug Holder

#092 April 4, 2019
“Original Sin”
by Diane Lockward

#093 April 5, 2019
“A Father Calls to his child on liveleak”
by Stephen Byrne

#094 April 8, 2019
by Marc Zegans

#095 April 12, 2019
“Landscape and Still Life”
by Marjorie Maddox

#096 April 16, 2019
“Strawberries Have Been Growing Here for Hundreds of
by Mary Ellen Lough

#097 April 17, 2019
“The New Science of Slippery Surfaces”
by Donna Spruijt-Metz

#098 April 19, 2019
“Tennessee Epithalamium”
by Alyse Knorr

#099 April 20, 2019
“Mermaid, 1969”
by Tameca L. Coleman

#100 April 21, 2019
“How Do You Know?”
by Stephanie

#101 April 23, 2019
“Rare Book and Reader”
by Ned Balbo

#102 April 26, 2019
by Jefferson Carter

#103 May 01, 2019
“The sight of a million angels”
by Jenneth Graser

#104 May 09, 2019
“How to tell my dog I’m dying”
by Richard Fox

#105 May 17, 2019
“Promises Had Been Made”
by Sarah Sarai

#106 June 01, 2019
“i sold your car today”
by Pamela Twining

#107 June 02, 2019
“Abandoned Stable”
by Nancy Susanna Breen

#108 June 05, 2019
by Julene Tripp Weaver

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