Jen Lambert’s “Dinner for the Dying”

Poem:  Dinner for the Dying: blog one
Poet: Jen Lambert
Magazine: Boxcar Poetry Review
Blogger: R. Romero

 While reading through all the different poems on the websites, I wasn’t very interested in many of them. The poem on Box car poetry titled “Dinner for the Dying” by Jen Lambert caught my attention the most. This poem caught my attention because I felt like I could dissect it better than the others and also at first I was unsure if Jen was writing from the animal’s perspective or from the human mother of the farm. This contrast intrigued me because in the first stanza she describes a boy running in with blood on his hands and she was chopping onions, and I had no clue that this was going to end up talking about a female deer.

In the first stanza Jen presents a stylistic structure to her stanza which she describes a scene and then at the end puts a comma to side note what the character was doing at the time. I feel like this gave a twist that everyone in class could learn because it kind of gave a tone to the poem that the character was not surprised to see this boy with blood on his hands and made me want to keep reading.

In the second stanza, I love the way Jen uses specific words to defamiliarize an ordinary subject.

“The scar on my belly, that battered, barbwire grin
that opened like a window for him, twitches
for the dying mother and the calf like a love note in her womb.”

These three lines caught me the most in this poem. The scar on my belly, hence the character had a C-section and Jen describes the scar as a barbwire grin, which gave a new twist instead of just saying scar. When she states that this scar on her belly opened like a window for him, she tells how she gave birth to a baby boy and that she twitched in empathy for the mother deer because she knew how it felt to give birth.

These two stanzas intrigued me the most out of this poem and I feel like there is a lot to learn from here with word play and structure.

Published by


The literary journal of the University of Illinois at Springfield.

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