To fulfill the requirement of an independent study for the New York Arts Program, I plan to complete a chapbook. I have been doing some preliminary work on the book, which will be entitled Red Velvet. Red velvet cake has become representative of New York City for me. It’s rich, decadent, inspires pleasure—but it’s also flashy. It’s a visual experience as much as it is a taste, texture, and smell experience. Red is a dangerous and seductive color, but it’s important to note that the cake is artificially tinted. Red velvet cake is an act, it puts on a show. The color of the frosting adds contrast and opposition. On a more literal note, I seem to see red velvet cake or cupcakes everywhere I go. In Michigan it’s less common, more like a dessert for a special occasion. This, too, is appropriate for my experience of New York—it seems like you can get anything, anywhere, at any time. Most of all, red velvet cake represents indulgence, which I’ve been doing an inordinate amount of lately.
I intend to employ a variety of techniques to discover these poems. I plan to take words from red velvet cake recipes, in addition to some other forms of found poetry. I would also like to sit in cafés and bakeries and eavesdrop on conversation. I love including snippets of dialogue in the form of italics. I also like the idea of a “How to Eat Red Velvet Cake Poem.” It seems like a rather broad and obscure frame, but somehow it seems to have triggered an exciting amount of new ideas for poems and new places to go for inspiration.