Inside The Artist’s Sketchbook: Emma Palley ’20
This feature was conceived as a foray into the hearts/minds of Kenyon’s finest artists and writers through the pages of their sketchbooks. This week, we talk with Emma Palley ’20, Kenyon’s premier cheese poet.
How long have you been writing poetry and when did the cheese poems in particular start?
The cheese poems are actually what sparked the poetry writing, which I’ve only been doing for about a year. The cheese poems in particular began after my dad sent me a link to this website called The Cheese Impresario, which has a section devoted to poetry about cheese. I thought this was really funny, so I decided to write a collection of my own. I have branched out some since then, because honestly there’s only so much I can write about cheese, but it was definitely a good starting place.
How/when does inspiration strike you?
I’d say a good 60% of my poems are written in the pasta line, in the notes app on my phone. A lot of the time I’ll write a poem because I thought of a good rhyme that I want to use. I’ll write a poem to procrastinate, or for a friend if they’re having a rough day.
On average, how long does it take for you to write a poem?
Do you write mainly for yourself or do you enjoy sharing your work?
I definitely enjoy sharing my work. None of the poetry I write is personal, and it’s all just for laughs, so I’ll always share with my friends if I write one that I think is funny.
What is your favorite type of cheese to eat and/or to write about?
Nothing too crazy, but I like a good cheddar.
Included below are three poems from Emma Palley’s collection.
You spot it on the floor—
There it sits, lonely, abandoned,
In the musty corner of the kitchen
You thought you knew so well.
The cold tiles press against your
Feet, fueling your walk across
The floor, towards your destiny—
For what will it be? Cheddar, or brie?
You stoop down, feeling the weight
Of the world press heavily on
Your shoulders. You reach out,
Grasp the warm weight of the cheese
In your hands—and feel whole once again.
The warmth sweeps through the kitchen.
You breathe easily once again.
You’ve found the missing piece.
When Cheddar Comes
The holes in the swiss,
Caverns in the sea—
Like a leaf, falling from a tree,
Your cheese, falls directly to
Me. But alas—Cheddar
Comes along, just as spring
Turns to summer. It’s newer,
Brighter, flashier. But it’s still
The same old cheese.
Like a goat, this cheese
Has bells that calls it
To you. Smooth, like the
Smooth ER, it makes you
Feel whole again. It transports
You to a land with
No worries, only cheese:
Cheese, cheese, cheese.
Because what is life if not
Cheesy? What is one’s heart
If not goaty? For what is MY soul
Without the transient feelings
Brought to me by a cheese—
A block, a slice, a crumble, a morsel of