Friday, June 18, 2010

How Sweet It Is!: A Poetry Tale

Grace Lin at YUMMIES candy store in Kittery, Maine (2008).

Two years ago, my friend Grace Lin and I came up with what we thought would be a good idea for a poetry collection. We both love sweets—so we decided candy would be a good subject. In early June of 2008, Grace and I headed off to Kittery, Maine. Why Kittery, Maine? Because it’s the home of YUMMIES, a fantastic candy store that has thousands of kinds of candies—some I haven’t seen in stores since my childhood.

As soon as we arrived at Yummies, Grace and I got shopping baskets and proceeded to go up and down the aisles and fill them with all kinds of goodies—including salt water taffy, fireballs, gummi worms and bears, caramel creams, marzipan, butter mints, maple sugar candy, marshmallow cones, candy necklaces, rock candy, red licorice, circus peanuts…. I could go on.
Then we returned to my house for research—tasting the different candies. We thought the shopping spree at Yummies and the candy eating would inspire me to write some “sweet” poems.
I also bought books about candy to read for information. I learned some really interesting things about licorice and marshmallow and candy canes and chocolate. I thought I’d include some of that interesting information in the collection.
My collection of candy poems takes you through a year with sweets. For example, there are poems about a heart-shaped box of chocolates for Valentine's Day, marshmallow chicks for Easter, toasting marshmallows for summer, licorice for Halloween, chocolate coins for Hanukkah and Christmas.

Here is one of the poems from my Sweet Dreams collection that I thought would be good for posting on a day in June.


Sticky morsels of candy
Wearing waxy suits…
An alphabet of flavors
To tantalize my sweet tooth:
Bubble gum
Double mint


These tasty tidbits of taffy are

Must rest my mandible
For the next round
Of masticating madness.

These are some of the books that I read:

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Two Writing Teachers.


Stacey said...

That looks delicious. I'm going to Ogunquit this summer and I'm afraid to find out how close this candy store in Kittery is to where we're staying!

Amy L V said...

What a scrumptious post! Last year, at exactly this time, I was working in Maine and drove by YUMMIES. You can bet that I turned right around, went in, and promptly bought enough candy cigarettes to corrupt all of our nieces and nephews! It's an amazing place, for sure, and I keep hoping to get work there again. :)

I love your "waxy suits" and the ooey, gooey, chewy stanza as well as your photos which really capture the place. This is a super-fun idea for a collection.

Another book you might like is CANDY AND ME: A GIRL'S TALE OF LIFE, LOVE, AND SUGAR by Hilary Liftin.

Thank you for the treat!


Elaine Magliaro said...


Kittery isn't far from Ogunquit. I bet you could drive to Yummies in 15-20 minutes.



I was overwhelmed by the all the different kinds of candies at Yummies. The store certainly brought back childhood memories.

Thanks for the book recommendation.

I need to get back to work on this collection--probably rewrite some poems and add a few more.

Peaceful Reader said...

What a great book idea! The candy pictures look so yummy and your poem captures salt water taffy-perfection!

all things poetry said...


I had never heard of YUMMIES before. Glad you showed us your photos! Totally amazing! I'm glad I don't live too close to that store, too much temptation.

Loved your poem, too!

Laura Evans

jama said...

This is the sweetest post I've ever seen! *drool* YUMMIES looks absolutely mind boggling.

Great idea for a poetry collection. LOVE alphabet of flavors and masticating madness! Brilliant :)!

Jeannine Atkins said...

I went to grad school at UNH not so very far away from Yummies as it turned out, and now we make annual excursions. But your pictures are the best. You really know how to research! Those books look sweet, too. I hope your revisions go well, though really, won't you have to make at least one more research trip?

Linda said...

What a delicious idea for a poetry collection! A few years ago, I wrote a NF piece for my students with candy as a theme. I read some of the same books as you did. I wish there was a candy store like Yummies around here, but then I'd probably do more tasting than I should. : )

Julie said...

Oh,yummers. Would love to see this book in print, Elaine. Would love to know what you learned about licorice (because secrets about licorice are important to licorice fanatics. Like me.)

Mary Lee said...

This is a fabulous story of research that will be great to share with students -- combining the hands-on (nom-on!!) research with the book/Internet brain is spinning with possibilities...

Elaine Magliaro said...

Peaceful Reader, All Things Poetry,
Jama, Jeanne, Linda, and Julie--

Thanks for your comments. Yummies was an amazing place. I was a true candy freak when I was a kid--bought lots of sweets at the little candy store about a block from my house.


Mary Lee,

I should have mentioned in my post that I also did some research on the Internet. I got information at a number of websites--including the PEEPS site.

laurasalas said...

Holy cow. That is a lot of candy! Thanks for the pix and story. You Blue Rose Girls sure have fun together!

I esp. love the first two lines of your poem. The taffy wearing wax suits--fabulous!