Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Poetry Book Reviews: Bartholomew Barker and Stephen Page

on November 22, 2022

(Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash)

Milkshakes and Chilidogs and Other Food Poems by Bartholomew Barker (2017).

       Available on Amazon.com.

Bartholomew is one of the organizers of Living Poetry in North Carolina. Since he is also a food and wine aficionado, it is not surprising that he wrote a poetry book about food. What surprised me is what a great little book it is! His poems are witty, analytical, and chock full of delightful morsels about dining and the things we consume. You will not find any anorexic rejection of edibles here. Bartholomew is absolutely shameless in his love of food. And that’s what makes this book such a wonderful read and a delicious gift for other food-a-holics.

“Cold long nights

are best spent cuddled

with macaroni and cheese.”

Who can argue with that?


Firm as your breasts

Red as your lips

On a night out

Drenched in Merlot.”

Believe me, I will never look at tomatoes in the same way again! And finally –

“I want to die fat and happy

I want to meet my chiligod

With a milkshake in my hand.”

I know a lot of chili lovers who would agree with that!

Website: Bartholomew Barker, Poet

The Salty River Bleeds by Stephen Page (2019). Available on Amazon.com.

Stephen Page is an award-winning author whose work has appeared in numerous publications. In this unique collection, he uses poetry and poetic prose to create a realistic portrait of life on an Argentinian ranch. The ranch, its owners, and caretakers, are all fictitious; but Stephen writes with authenticity and conviction. For him, the story is real, from the ambivalent feelings of the owner about leaving the city and isolating out in the countryside; to the lazy, conniving employees; to dealing with bad hombres like cattle rustlers and horse thieves; to birthing calves, riding horses, and watching the crops grow. He expresses concerns about rain and drought; the effects of pesticides on the land; the annoying insects; mechanical issues; and constant repairs on the ranch. The owner’s frustration comes through loud and clear. Life is difficult. But it’s the raw beauty of nature that keeps him going. He has his family to provide for and a loving wife to lean on. In the end, the struggles seem to be all worthwhile.

Stephen’s style is eloquent and simple:

“The tree frogs called the rain last night,

but the rain did not answer.

The intermittent croaking, about

every hour or so, was followed by

a gust of wind and the scent

of water, but no sprinkle, no pour.”


“When I am in the city,

I remember why I escape

To the ranch. When I am

On the ranch, I remember why

I want to live in the city.”

Website: Stephen Page

Dawn Pisturino

November 22, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


27 responses to “Poetry Book Reviews: Bartholomew Barker and Stephen Page

  1. Iowa Life says:

    Green grapes… my motivation would be a chocolate cream pie.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Poetry on food is a great surprise for me . Believe me , it is really a new food for thought for me . Upto now what I have come across is that food feeds the body , knowledge feeds the mind , emotion feeds the heart and peace feeds the soul . With your adorable endeavours of transcending poetry from the taken for granted boundaries , this superb poetic realm will come to be known as taking the super consciousness into a newly beautiful horizon . Thanks a lot for your grand style of hunger and appetite opening poetry .

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Poetry and food is a delicious combination.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] Poetry Book Reviews: Bartholomew Barker and Stephen Page — Dawn Pisturino’s Blog […]

    Liked by 1 person

  5. balladeer says:

    Would this count as food erotica? (I’m kidding.)

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Oh my Dawn, another awesome spotlight on poets I am not familiar with. With a delicious spice of flavors from life in North Carolina and life on an Argentinian ranch. Thanks so much for introducing us to Bartholomew Barker and Stephen Page! 🤗💖😍

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you so much for reviewing my chapbook!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. nicely done. You are just rocking in on the reviews. 💗

    Liked by 3 people

  9. […] Pistorino posted a review of my chapbook of food poems today. I encourage all my readers to check it out and follow her fine […]

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Michele Lee says:

    Dawn, I am learning so much about fellow poets and their work through you. Wonderful! 🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Never seen a poetry book review. Very inspiring Dawn 💝

    Liked by 1 person

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