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Syndic Literary Journal

“I write on kitchen tables . . .”

Written by Nicole Laurent-Catrice

Translated from the French by Dominique Hecq

Narrated by Kristine Doll


I write on kitchen tables

that’s my domain.

Culinary spells

have no secrets left for me.

I ladle out my soup

from my magic cauldron

to serve you.

Some people wince:

it is a bit too strong for them.

They fear a migraine.

That’s because they eat with their heads

not their stomachs.

Still, it will keep your belly warm

its subtle substances will nourish you.

The art of spices is subtle

but you also need the science of nutrition,

combine cereals with legumes,

fibre with salts.

Taste it, savor it slowly.

Then a powerful alchemy will take hold of you

and in due course

you too will

chop on the kitchen tables

your flesh

to feed your children.



Nicole Laurent-Catrice was born in North of France. She organized meetings of poets in Brittany and produced programs about poetry in the radio for fifteen years. She published about twenty books of poems (in Belgium and France, but so translated in Sofia and Kiev) two novels, and some essays.. She collaborated with artists on fifteen books. She translated and published twenty poets especially from the Spanish language but  also from European countries such as: Portugal, Ireland, Hungary, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Italy, alone or with someone else. She was invited to international festivals of poetry, in Mexico, Italy, Romania, Dublin, Alicante, Vilnius, Medellin, Caracas.

Dominique Hecq grew up in the French-speaking part of Belgium. An author and translator, she now lives on unceded sovereign Wurundjeri land, Melbourne. Hecq writes across genres and disciplines and sometimes across tongues. Her creative works include a novel, five collections of stories, and twelve books of poetry. Among other honors, Hecq won the inaugural AALITRA Prize for Translation.


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