Sandra Beasley, Sean Hill, and Atsuro Riley

Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance

Monday, March 11, 2019, 7:30 pm
Folger Theatre
Northern Virginia native Sandra Beasley has authored three poetry collections: Count the Waves, I Was the Jukebox, and Theories of Falling. Her memoir, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, engages living with disability.
A Georgia native, poet Sean Hill is the author of Dangerous Goods, awarded the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry, and Blood Ties & Brown Liquor. He is a consulting editor at Broadsided Press and an assistant professor in the Creative Writing Program at UA-Fairbanks.
Atsuro Riley’s work vividly paints the blooms of rural South Carolina. His first book, Romey's Order, received the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, The Believer Poetry Award, and a Witter Bynner Award. 
In conjunction with the Folger exhibition and the institution-wide project Before 'Farm to Table': Early Modern Foodways and Cultures.



From "Flour Is Firm"
The Traveler’s Vade Mecum, line 4234
Baking two parts flour to one part water 
could stop a bullet. So good soldiers 
carried their hardtack over their hearts. 
Break it down with a rifle butt, flood it, 
fry it in pig fat to make hellfire stew.
Gnaw it raw and praise the juice.
Does wheat prepare for this as it grows,
seeking the light in a half-thawed field?
Do stalks know their strength is merely 
in their number? What is ground down
we name flour in promise that it will be 
made useful. Otherwise, it’s just dust. 
Excerpt from “Flour is Firm” from Count the Waves by Sandra Beasley © 2015, published by W.W. Norton. Used with permission.

This project was supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanties, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.