cover image From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes

From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes

B.C. Edwards. Black Lawrence (SPD, dist.), $13.95 trade paper (98p) ISBN 978-1-937854-99-7

In Edwards’s delightfully unconventional full-length debut, arcane culinary recipes are adapted into guidelines for navigating the curiosities of childhood, murky adolescence, and the spoils of young love. The result: a constant struggle against constraints of homogeneity, a celebration of quotidian morsels that comprise a more palatable whole, and the unraveling of days that “sit in layers on each other.” The book is in three parts, and Edwards guides through prep work, cook time, and a final taste test, but never dares to forecast the yield—after all, the idea is to “take the things around you, sort them into piles.” We are warned up front that “this won’t/ be any fun,” though it is, just in unexpected ways. It’s a process of exploration to “discover/ what everything is before/ you can do anything about it.” Edwards acknowledges the impossibility of this gargantuan task; the tension between following directions and the need to season to taste is evident. As he works through this tension, even common poetry tropes become his own. In his attempt to find combinations that work and to “redraw the world around [him], ” Edwards ends up creating a book that’s simultaneously standardized and highly idiosyncratic. (July)