‘Mother’s Kitchen’ (A Group Poem)

In 1996, I led a creative writing workshop for the Hellenic Culture Society of Lowell. For the first session I asked the participants to do an exercise. Everyone would contribute one line on the theme of his or her mother’s kitchen. When we had all the individual lines, I took a few minutes and re-arranged them into a composition that fit together as best as possible considering the variety of experiences and memories of the writers. Below is the result. To see more poems written by the people in the workshop, visit ecommunity.uml.edu/bridge, the home of The Bridge Review: Merrimack Valley Culture, an online magazine that had been on hiatus until recently, when Prof. Bob Forrant and Prof. Emeritus Chuck Levenstein of UMass Lowell edited a special issue in connection with the Bread & Roses Centennial project in Lawrence.—PM

Mother’s Kitchen
A Group Poem by the Hellenic Culture Society Writing Workshop


Soapstone sink, black hot stove, red sauce bubbling—
grabs me by the ribs and screams smelly sense.
Radiating sunny yellow and soft green colors,
and always smelled of fresh baked bread.
Smelled best when she was making spinach pie,
fragrance of the cheese melting into green leaves,
and the buttery scent of that golden crust—
heaven can have no finer perfume
than my memory of this one.
Ridded my being of winter chills.
Suddenly frantic at 5 p.m. after work—
dinner during Howdy Doody time.
Filled with the sundown light.
Chocolate aroma drifting by the candlelight.


By Mary Bacigalupo, Walter Bacigalupo, Helen Brooks, George Dana, Linda Diefendorf, Xanthe Mangiavas, Bernard Petruziello, Mary Sampas, Charles Nikitopoulos, and Eleni Zohdi (April 1996)


2 Responses to ‘Mother’s Kitchen’ (A Group Poem)

  1. Marie says:

    Thanks for this “workshop verse” and for the memories and the names… wonderful, thoughtful, creative people.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was part of that session and thought at first that we would come up with something stupid. but we actually got a poem with each participant coming up with at least one line. From then on knew we were poets and wrote entire poems. Magical! Thanks, Paul.