The Story Behind Alice Osborn’s Poetry

Photo credit: Marthanna Yater

What’s the story behind my poetry? I thought it was only fair to spend a little time talking about new book, After the Steaming Stops available now for $10 till the end of April! Read some of my poems here.

I also want you to check out this video (only 2:30 minutes!) from Diogenes Ruiz of Entertainment Triangle which also reveals the “why” behind my poetry.

Let’s get this party started:

Where did my book title (After the Steaming Stops) come from?

From an Aunt Jemima waffle box—if you check out the instructions on the back you’ll see some of the boxes say, “Bake until the steaming stops” after you’ve poured the batter into a hot waffle iron.  I love to make waffles on Sunday mornings and came across this phrase—and thought, “how intriguing.” I changed it to “After the Steaming Stops,” to reveal what happens after the anger and after the love is gone. Many of my poems use domestic imagery and I also wanted the title to have an element of danger—which is steaming. Steam will burn you and it can also melt your love. Love is represented by the frozen popsicle heart that’s being lowered via ladle into the pressure cooker. In this case steam, one of the three states of water, is a metaphor for love in my book. Some love is solid (you know it’s unconditional), some liquid (it flows all around you and you know it’s there), some is steam (it’s in the vapors and you don’t know if it really even exists).

 

What are these poems really about?After the Steaming Stops

 

All of my poems are stories, or narrative poems, about love’s flare-ups and endings. They are mostly true stories of what happened to me as a three-, eight -or ten-year old and how inappropriate my parents acted with me. As a kid, I remembered these incidents, locked them into my head so one day I could write about them. All of the quotations from my folks are real. Some poems weigh more on the father than the mother to give them equal time and I’m sympathetic with both. I also love to write about death! I also have two historical poems about a near death and a death and how they affected me. My poem “Early” is about a train engineer who kills someone on the tracks just because he was doing his job. I got the idea from that poem by reading the paper. The article said that over the course of a train operator’s career, they will kill three people on average.

 

What makes my poetry stand out?

 

My endings! I like to give readers an unexpected punch in the final line. I use stories and images that will stay in your brain for years (so sorry about that!) and many of my poems include my dry sense of humor, too. My poetry is very accessible and easy to understand BUT the more you read my poetry, you’ll discover more layers and more intrigue!

 

Your Turn:

What else would you like to know about me or my poetry? Please add your comments here!

 

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  1. Catharine Hennessy April 22, 2012

    Alice, your poems are FABULOUS! I picked up Unfinished Projects at night, and could not put it down until finished (a real problem for a morning person). I was smarter with After The Steaming Stops and waited until I went to bed earlier. I have always been able to read just one poem, but not with yours. To those of you out there who have not purchased Alice’s books, you are missing out! There is so much in there for everyone.

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