Celebrate National Poetry Month with Poems and Local Spirits
Poem and local spirit combos to help you honor the most poetic month of the year
By Seattle Mag April 7, 2016
It’s April, which means National Poetry Month is in full poetic swing. In honor of that, and because reading poems and having a good drink go together in such a lovely manner, I have some poem-and-local-spirit combos to help you celebrate the month right. (Last year, we paired poems with drinks at local bars, but as our distilleries are so poetic, I thought we’d run a different route this time.) All the poems but one can be found in the collection In Their Cups: As Anthology of Poems About Drinking Places, Drinks, and Drinkers. And the spirits can be found at the distilleries, or at good local liquor stores. I’ll give you a snippet of each poem to get you started.
Poem: “Whisky, Drink Divine.”
Poet: Joseph O’Leary.
Local Tipple: Westland American Single Malt Whiskey. This poem of happy drinking venerates whiskey above other possible beverages, and sets it up as one of the keys to a life that’s better than most. The fine folks at Westland would agree, I believe, and their (also venerated) flagship single malt whiskey is ideal to drink while reading this poem and musing on the important things in life.
Whisky, drink divine!
Why should drivelers bore us
With the praise of wine
While we’ve thee before us?
Were it not a shame,
Whilst we gayly fling thee
To our lips of flame,
If we could not sing thee?
Poet: Richard Carr.
Local Tipple: broVo Witty Dry White Vermouth. Coming from the Minnesotan poet’s collection Mr. Martini (which has a different Martini – of sorts – ending each poem), Ceremony boast a cocktail-on-the-street scene that you don’t want to miss. Much like you don’t want to miss broVo’s vermouth line. The Witty member of their vermouth family starts with Sauvignon Blanc, which is then infused with all kinds of good things.
I followed him into the streets of his youth
to the raucous corner of 7th and 57th,
where, in a sly ceremony,
he opened a violin case on the sidewalk
and removed a bottle of gin,
a bottle of vermouth, still sealed,
a jar of green olives, pitted but not stuffed,
and a small tin of square toothpicks.
Poem: “A Twist-imony in Favor of Gin-Twist.”
Poet: William Maginn.
Local Tipple: Seattle Distilling Company Gin. The longest – and perhaps best – poem about gin ever written, Twist-imony is incredibly fun to read, an adventure, provided you have the proper accompanying beverage. For me, that’s Seattle Distilling’s gin, which takes you on a northwest adventure with every sip, as it uses local Oregon juniper, Vashion Island botanicals and spices, and has a base of Washington red winter wheat.
The friends of the grape may boast of rich Cape,
Hock, Claret, Madeira, or Lachryma Christ,
But this muzzle of mine was never so fine
As to value them more than a jug of gin-twist.
The people of Nantz, in the kingdom of France,
Bright brandy they brew, liquor not to be hissed;
It may do as a dram, but ‘tis not worth a damn,
When watered, compared with a jug of gin-twist.
Poet: Ed Skoog.
Local Tipple: Cadée Deceptivus Bourbon. Okay, this is an outlier, as the poem isn’t in the collection mentioned above, but is from legendary Seattle poet (though now located in Portland) Ed Skoog. It’s in his new collection, Run The Red Lights, which is coming out in November from Copper Canyon Press – and available for pre-order now! Get it, and then get a bottle of Whidbey’s Cadée Distillery’s Deceptivus bourbon. Matured first in new American Oak barrels then double barrel finished in 20 year old Port barrels, it’s a rich and flavorful, matching Mr. Skoog nicely.
What I like most about the first shot of bourbon
is how it feels like letting go of a grudge.
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