Between Walls by William Carlos Williams

Posted by Maddie on May 26, 2012 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (115)

In a KWH event in New York City held on Thursday, May 10th, Professor Al Filreis (UPenn) moderated a discussion on William Carlos Williams' "Between Walls." Indeed short, with each stanza carrying 3-5 words per, the entire room full of KWH supporters and alum analyzed the poem phrase by phrase. In "Between Walls," healing the self (hospital) is juxtaposed with harming the self (alcohol).

"Between Walls" reminded me of my English elective, "The Ache of Modernism" mainly because of the poem's title, "Between Walls," which conjures up wasteland imagery. It's funny that "Between Walls" is probably the shortest poem I've read and "The Wasteland" is probably the longest, yet the poems' touch on similar themes. In my modernism elective, I read T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland"; the overarching message I gathered from this long poem was that our self-destructive actions are not contained within the self. In “The Wasteland” Eliot glorifies Shakespearian women and denounces modern women, juxtaposing two self-destructive women— Hamlet’s Ophelia to Lil—to reveal that modernity is a culmination of our snowballing self-destructive actions. 

If you have read T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland," I hope you can see my train of thought and see how I analyzed Williams' "Between Walls."

 See my handwritten jots below.

Hone Your Cheese Vocab:

Posted by Maddie on November 17, 2011 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (2)

Describing cheese requires skill. And I'm not yet an expert yet either, but I'm learning from one: Max McCalman. Max McCalman is a James Beard Award recipient, author of 3 successful reference books on cheese, Dean of Curriculum at Artisanal, won the "World's Best Book on Cheese" Award, and is NASA's go-to guy for all questions cheese. 

I thought I would compile a list for you so you can describe cheese like the professionals do. 


Pillowy, Creamy, Dense, Chewy, Elastic, Velvety, Toothsome, Pasty, Sticky, Crumbly, Dry, Creamy, Dense, Chewy, Elastic, Pliable


Barnyardy, Beefy, Grassy, Gamy, Earthy, Herbaceous, Tangy, Buttery, 

Earthy, Nutty, Mushroomy, Sharp, Stinky, Pungent, Smoky, Caramelized

Now, all you poets can use these adjectives in your poems about cheese! Email your poems, or comment below!




Posted by Maddie on November 10, 2011 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (1)!/cheeseandpoetry" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">!/cheeseandpoetry

@cheeseandpoetry Twitterfeed

Posted by Maddie on November 6, 2011 at 1:15 AM Comments comments (1)

I post a lot to my twitter page, in addition to . With currently 345 tweets and over 180 followers, you can rely on updated cheese and poetry content here too!

Feel free to see my cheese photos, interesting links I found about cheese or poetry (or on the rare occasion, both!) , and get updates when I post a new blog post here. A lot of people contact me via Twitter because they are always on Twitter anyway, so don't hesitate to contact me through there as well!

To cheese producers: If you would like me to sample your cheese and write a review on it, please contact me at or Twitter. I have had a great time trying new cheeses and matching them up with a poem. Thanks to those who've sent me cheese thus far!

Click here to get to my twitter page:!/cheeseandpoetry/

Where We're Mentioned Around the Web

Posted by Maddie on October 30, 2011 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (4)

1. Cheese Web: The Cheese Wire, February 2011: 

"Best Cheese Blogs of the Month: Some fantastic blogs can be found on the internet devoted to our shared passion, cheese. Some have even taken to immortalising their love of cheese in poetry..."

2. Madame Fromage:

"Maddie, a lit lovin' cheesemongeress at Artisanal, launched a cheese and poetry web."  



"Sure, aged gouda pairs perfectly with a nice cabernet sauvignon, and a stinky Stilton balances nicely with a sweet port wine — but what happens when a double cream like Brillat-Savarin is paired with Emily Dickinson? [Cheese and Poetry]"


Fondue Frenzy

Posted by Maddie on September 14, 2011 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (11)

I've been attempting to make it a tradition that we have fondue at my house on Friday nights. Not only do my parents get to relax and not have to cook that night, I enjoy selecting the mix of cheeses, grating cheese, and cutting up french baguette. It's fun and easy to prepare fondue and the outcome is SO WORTH IT! 

Ever since I got back from my summer program at Penn, I've been experimenting, experimenting, experimenting: how much flour, how much white wine, how much cheese... Still a newbie to the world of fondue, one time the fondue turned out too thick ( I added too much flour to the grated cheese mix), I added too much wine and made a fondue that makes people drunk, and then I made it just right. There's a lightbulb that light ups above your head when you've found and created the perfect fondue.

So far, I've made the following types of fondue--all from scratch, no prepackaged mix. Prepackaged mixes are for lazy people!

1. fontina raschera, and parmesan

2. fontina, gruyere, and sheep milk parmesan

3. gruyere and comte

4. plain gruyere

5. French Raclette and gruyere

6. sheep gouda and fontina

7. cave aged gruyere

8. manchego, gruyere, and fontina

I've learned that Fontina is the best for fondue. It melts easily (unlike the hard manchego or parmesan) and it tastes sooo good! The Fontina I have used throughout all of these combos is called Fontina Val d'Aosta. It's so tasty and I'm so upset I just found out about Fontina Val d'Aosta now!

Here are the directions to make the PERFECT fondue:

Beforehand: Grate 3/4-4/5 lb of cheese for hard cheeses and cut .5 inch cubes for softer cheeses.

1. Get a pot

2. Start the gas on your stove and put heat to medium

3. Clean a clove of garlic and cut it in half and rub the insides of the pot with the two halves.

4. Pour in 1 cup of white wine into the pot

5. Cut the french baguette while the white wine simmers

6. While waiting for the wine to simmer, put in 1.5 tablespoons of flour  in (if you are doubting...) Fully mix the flour into the bowl of grated/cubed cheese and make sure the flour is even covered throughout. 

7. Use your hand and put in a handful of the cubed cheese (that you just mixed the flour in) into the simmering wine. 

8. Get a whisk and make figure 8's until the cheese has fully melted and there are no longer any cheese globs stuck to the whisk

9. After the first handful of cheese is fully melted into the wine, continue to add handfuls in and wait until the cheese has fully melted each time. Keep using your whisk to make figure 8's. Your goal is to have a stringy cheese texture and by doing SLOW, VERY SLOW figure 8's, you can accomplish this.

10. After all the cheese you cubed and grated is melted in, continue the figure 8's for two more minutes. If you don't do the figure 8 whisk motions, you will end up with an oil layer at the top...

11. Serve and enjoy. Let us know what you thought of the directions and send us a photo of how your fondue turned out! Email or comment below! 

I hope you try FONtina for the FONdue... (they're clearly a perfect match...)

Enjoy your Fondue!



Posted by Maddie on August 23, 2011 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (2)

Note: Skim down all the way to the bottom of this blog post for my poetry about two of my favorite Croatian cheeses.


Yesterday was the first time I had Croatian cheese. Have you ever heard of Paski Sir or Zigljen or Kozlar? I didn't until I received cheese samples from Simon Kerr of Paski Sir cheese who kindly shipped me 3 diffent cheeses.

Zigljen (the Croatian cheese company) sent me the following cheeses to sample. Ratings are in parenthesis:

1. Kozlar (Goat milk) 0

2. Paski Sir (ewe's milk) +1

3. Zigljen (mixed milk) +2 

Here are descriptions of the cheese from the company website:

Kozlar: Our goats are domestic to the Island of Pag as well as the straights of Kotar giving Kozlar a fruity and fresh taste.

Paski Sir: Produced exclusively from the milk of the autochthonous sheep on the Island of Pag, Paški Sir is the most awarded ewes’ milk cheese in all of Croatia. This cheese is a pure delight and displays quality in the making, leaving a long and pleasant aftertaste to savour. A yellowish creamy colour with farmhouse aromas, Sirana Gligora’s Paški Sir has well balanced texture, taste, aromas and finish and is delightfully tasty." Made from 100% ewes' milk.

Zigljen: Žigljen is a hard type cheese made from a delicate fusion of cow, sheep and goat milk from the Dalmatian region of Croatia. With an abundance of spring water in the region together with the rich minerals of the land, our Žigljen cheese is slightly spicy with a distinctive aroma.


As learned from Max McCalman, we should eat the cheeses with goat first and then sheep. I brought the three cheeses to Artisanal to share with all my cheese-loving friends!

My ratings for the following cheeses are based on the scale that Max uses to rate his cheese and wine combinations (which is the -2, -1, 0, +1, +2 scale in which -2 is strongly dislike, 0 = neutral, and +2 = love it and would definitely have it again and again) 

It might have been the goat's milk packaged in plastic, but the Kozlar tasted bland and the texture was spongy. It had a mild start and has a strong finish. 

As for the Paski Sir, which Max McCalman tried and really enjoyed, was tasty, and densely packed with flavor. The oil from the sheep's milk kept the cheese very flavorful. I really enjoyed the texture as well as a few others on the Artisanal crew. Fabulous!

Everyone's favorite of the three cheeses at Artisanal was the ewe's milk cheese, Zigljen. It tasted like our favorite parmesan! It was so tasty, with each bite better than the next. Seriously addicting! This is a must-try. 

Here is the website:

If you were to buy just one of these cheeses, the Zigljen is the best with Paski Sir close behind. Now for a poems to match these cheese with. 

Kozlar and The Sponges by Chuck Keller:

The poet's soul absorbs the world's beauty like a sponge.

Seeing, eating, living the tragic, the profound and the painful

until filled and dripping the excesses of being plunged

into the bucket of excrement that is man's insane and full

existence. And when the poet's soul has absorbed enough

beauty and sadness and pain and joy and love and scorn,

it is squeezed gently onto an empty page for a draft, still rough,

then nourished, edited and changed until, finally, a poem is born.

Paski Sir and Unknown Treasure by Maddie G

Unknown to many,

Celebrated by few.

A golden gem of Croatia.

A sliver of pure treasure

Found. Once introduced,

now a staple for all. 

Ziglijen and Scrumptuous by Maddie G

Zenith in every bite

I know the valleys lie in swallowing

Love at first bite.

Jamboree to your tongue

Enjoyed by everyone. 

Thank you so much Simon Kerr of Paski Sir cheese for introducing me to 3 new tasty cheeses! I hope you will all have the pleasure of trying the cheese for yourself!



Where Cheesemongers Can Network with Poets

Posted by Maddie on August 19, 2011 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (1)

This is the place where cheesemongers can network

with poets...

and poets can write about cheese and

cheesemongers can learn about poetry.

This is

Where Cheese Meets Poetry

and food meets words

and poets meet cheese makers

Become friends, become a member of the site.

This is the place to be. 

Become a member now and

maximize your networking circle.


Cheese and Poem Matchup

Posted by Maddie on August 13, 2011 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (1)

Cheese and Poetry matchup (Aug 13):

Pierre Robert (double creme) & Because I Could Not Stop For Death by Emily Dickinson

Pierre Robert is a decadent triple-crème-style cheese from Seine-et-Marne. When Robert Rouzaire and his friend Pierre began to tire of their Brillat-Savarin, inspiration struck. They began aging the same triple-crème longer in their caves, enabling it to further develop its flavor and become even more meltingly rich in texture. They named their new success Pierre-Robert, for obvious reasons. With a whimsical boulder ("Pierre" means rock) adorning its snow-white rind, Pierre-Robert appeals to anyone craving pure and utter decadence. Buttery, smooth, and mild, this cheese ought to be eaten spread on bread or even graham crackers.

Because I Could Not Stop For Death by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death,

He kindly stopped for me;

The carriage held but just ourselves

And Immortality.


We slowly drove, he knew no haste,

And I had put away

My labour, and my leisure too,

For his civility.


We passed the school where children played,

Their lessons scarcely done;

We passed the fields of gazing grain,

We passed the setting sun.


We paused before a house that seemed

A swelling of the ground;

The roof was scarcely visible,

The cornice but a mound.


Since then 'tis centuries; but each

Feels shorter than the day

I first surmised the horses' heads

Were toward eternity.

The name of Dickinson's poem in itself describes how I feel at Pierre Robert. Pierre Robert is possibly the most creamy cheese I've had in a long time (similar to the sheep and goat milk bries I had when I had to get my wisdom teeth removed). To simply describe the Pierre Robert, it is like stripping the cream off of cream cheese and mixing it with sheep milk brie. It can be considered as heart attack on a plate. The idea of someone who cannot stop for death makes us think about someone who is too busy living and enjoying life to worry about death. This cheese is amazing, very creamy, but that is what makes Pierre Robert so great. In summary, Pierre Robert is so tasty, you should not worry about the calories and fat it contains while eating it. Don't stop for death!



If you are a member...

Posted by Maddie on August 12, 2011 at 10:00 PM Comments comments (2)

...You can get access to the complete Artisanal Adventures and Writing Portfolio files now. 

...Otherwise, you can't see them.

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Twitter Twitter, Tweet Tweet: Six Months of Tweets Documented

Posted by Maddie on August 10, 2011 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (1)

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Cheese and Poem of the Week March 19, 2011

Posted by Maddie on March 19, 2011 at 8:34 PM Comments comments (4)

Cheese: Pecorino delle Balze Volterrane



Thine emulous fond flowers are dead, too,

And the daft sun-assaulter, he

That frightened thee so oft, is fled or dead:

Save only me

(Nor is it sad to thee!)

Save only me

There is none left to mourn thee in the fields.

The gray grass is scarce dappled with the snow;

Its two banks have not shut upon the river;

But it is long ago--

It seems forever--

Since first I saw thee glance,

WIth all thy dazzling other ones,

In airy dalliance,

Precipitate in love,

Tossed, tangled, whirled and whirled above,

Like a linp rose-wreath in a fairy dance.


When that was, the soft mist

Of my regret hung not on all the land,

And I was glad for thee,

And glad for me, I wist.


Thou didst not know, who tottered, wandering on high,

That fate had made thee for the pleasure of the wind,

With those great careless wings,

Nor yet did I.


And there were othe rthings:

It seemed God let thee flutter from his gentle clasp:

Then fearful he had let thee win

Too far beyond him to be gathered in,

Santched thee, o'ereager, with ungentle gasp.


Ah! I remember me

How once conspiracy was rife

Against my life--

The languor of it and the dreaming fond;

Surging, the grasses dizzied me of thought,

The breeze three odors brought,

And a gem-flower waved in a wand!


Then when I was distraught

And could not speak,

Sidelong, full on my cheek,

What should that reckless zephyr fling

But the wild touch of thy dye-dusty wing!


I found that wing broken today!

For thou art dead, I said,

And the strang birds say.

I found it with the withered leaves

Under the eaves.

Cheese and Poem of the Week-- February 20, 2011

Posted by Maddie on February 20, 2011 at 10:16 PM Comments comments (2)

Cheese: French Raclette.

Poem: Birches by Robert Frost


When I see birches bend to left and right

Across the lines of straighter darker trees,

I like to think some boy's been swinging them.

But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.

Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them

Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning

After a rain. They click upon themselves

As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored

As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.

Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells

Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust--

Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away

You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.

They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,

And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed

So low for long, they never right themselves:

You may see their trunks arching in the woods

Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground

Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair

Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.

But I was going to say when Truth broke in

With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm

(Now am I free to be poetical?)

I should prefer to have some boy bend them

As he went out and in to fetch the cows--

Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,

Whose only play was what he found himself,

Summer or winter, and could play alone.

One by one he subdued his father's trees

By riding them down over and over again

Until he took the stiffness out of them,

And not one but hung limp, not one was left

For him to conquer. He learned all there was

To learn about not launching out too soon

And so not carrying the tree away

Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise

To the top branches, climbing carefully

With the same pains you use to fill a cup

Up to the brim, and even above the brim.

Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,

Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.

So was I once myself a swinger of birches.

And so I dream of going back to be.

It's when I'm weary of considerations,

And life is too much like a pathless wood

Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs

Broken across it, and one eye is weeping

From a twig's having lashed across it open.

I'd like to get away from earth awhile

And then come back to it and begin over.

May no fate willfully misunderstand me

And half grant what I wish and snatch me away

Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:

I don't know where it's likely to go better.

I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,

And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk

Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,

But dipped its top and set me down again.

That would be good both going and coming back.

One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.