Larder: Poems by Rhona McAdam

Compact but never brief, Rhona McAdam’s poetry collection, Larder, is a masterclass in using language to create the most vivid imagery. McAdam’s poems dive into nature without reservation, treating plants and animals with love and joy. This collection runs the range from beautiful to grotesque. In each poem, McAdam leads you through a world we exist in but don’t always see: the wasps in our vegetables, the tenacity of caterpillars, and even in the “Evolution of a Tick,” McAdam managed to make me feel some sympathy and interest in ticks!

“McAdam has created multiple worlds in these poems.”

Larder is divided into four parts: Part 1 dealing with insects, animals, and outside; Part 2 is a set of poems dealing with the food we eat, including titles like “Meat,” “Cheese,” and “Jello;” Part 3 concerns itself with harvests and weather; while Part 4 is a short section on the dying of the year and the end of life. I was shocked to reach the end of this collection and realize it was only 80 pages because McAdam has created multiple worlds in these poems. And they jump from dreamy language to wry observations seamlessly.

In “Salad,” McAdam both laments the stretched definition of the word and honours what a real salad ought to be:

Such atrocities in your name:
sculptures of jelly and cabbage;
ring moulds, milky and pink;
canned fruit and marshmallows.

When all that was asked
Was leaf from the garden, something green (p. 41)

A beautiful, filling collection, Larder is a set of poems to read at the change of the seasons, to appreciate alongside a good meal, and to remind yourself of the beauty in everything, even the things you may not appreciate before opening McAdam’s collection.

Rhona McAdam is a poet, food writer and holistic nutritionist. Her poems have appeared in literary journals and anthologies in Canada, the US, Ireland and the UK since the 1980s. Her ten poetry collections include the award-winning Hour of the PearlOld Habits (published simultaneously in the UK and Canada), Cartography and Ex-Ville. She is also the author of Digging the City, an urban agriculture manifesto.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Caitlin Press (May 6 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 72 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1773860836
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1773860831

 -- Website

Alison Manley has ricocheted between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for most of her life. Now in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she is the Cataloguing and Metadata Librarian at Saint Mary's University. Her past life includes a long stint as a hospital librarian on the banks of the mighty Miramichi River. She has an honours BA in political science and English from St. Francis Xavier University, and a Master of Library and Information Studies from Dalhousie University. While she's adamant that her love of reading has nothing to do with her work, her ability to consume large amounts of information very quickly sure is helpful. She is often identified by her very red lipstick, and lives with her partner Brett and cat, Toasted Marshmallow.