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David S Taub

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A critique of the contemporary piece, Chicken Broth – 99% fat free.
by David S Taub

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A critique of the contemporary piece, "Chicken Broth – 99% fat free"

Chicken Broth – 99%fat free

Ingredients: Chicken Broth, and no more than 2% salt, Monosodium Glutamate, Beta Carotene, Flavoring (autolyzed yeast extract, dextrose, partially hydogenated soybean oil) modified food starch, sodium phosphate.

Author unknown.

When one first views this piece, perhaps the most startling factor is the visual impact achieved by presenting the carefully selected words in just 2 lines [Unfortunately, the 2 line format is corrupted and lost by posting here].

This 2 line format almost challenges the reader to search for a point of reference – to search for another contemporary poet who has pushed the envelope of the poetic form to this extent!

Contrary to the accepted status quo of contemporary poetry, where it simply does not work to use or even mix the archaic with contemporary language, the author defies this notion, taking out-of-date terms such as Broth and salt, juxtaposed with the likes of Monosodium Glutamate. Clearly, the author dismisses the minimalist style, whereby he chose not to abbreviate to MSG, yet simultaneously shows contempt for consistency, whereby he selects 'salt' as opposed to the contemporary 'sodium chloride'.

This piece is, indeed, paradoxical in nature on several levels. Perhaps a subliminal message underlies what is being conveyed?

On the surface of it, we are presented with a contemporary free-verse piece, yet there are strong cadences inserted from the very initial words. The meter of 'Chicken Broth and no more' has an authoritarian beat – almost school-ma'amish in quality. This is repeated again with the section 'partially hydrogenated soybean oil', yet this sequence has the hint of a military beat, rapped out on a snare-drum.

As one deconstructs this piece, word by word and letter by letter, it becomes evident that the author effectively uses every single letter in the alphabet, with the exception of the letters Q and J. That, of course, leads to the question, "Why the omission of those specific characters?" Is there a correlation to the inclusion of the uncharacteristic use of the figure 2 and the mathematical percent symbol % in the opening line?

Perhaps the author is subtly implying that mathematics, and the scienctific method, is the cornerstone to the true understanding of contemporary poetry? To understand a flower, it must be ground to its constituent components and subjected to both the optical and electron microscope at the hands of a highly trained chemist. Likewise, the full essence and understanding of contemporary literary work must be methodically deconstructed only by those trained in linguistics! Were that not the case, we would be left with the uneducated philistine passing trite and clichéd comments concerning the beauty of botanical material and, likewise, the ignorant falling to false reasoning, insisting this piece were nothing more than the ingredients on a tinned product!

This critic admits that his brief analysis cannot begin to do justice to this fine piece, and would have much preferred to have deferred to a panel of peers. However, I am being summoned to assist my wife with the preparation of dinner, as she is missing some required item from her kitchen cabinet….

Copyright David Taub ( ) August, 2001

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Reviewed by Tami Ryan
Verrrrrrrrry interesting. (You musta had some free time on your hands.) Laughing, laughing, I am...
Reviewed by melisande
Damned funny stuff here, fresh, creative and a nice jab at those critics who deconstruct everything.
Reviewed by S H (Reader)
Reviewed by Janet Caldwell
Nice twist, not at all what I expected.

JC xoxoxoxo
Reviewed by Tim Horton (Reader)
Very interesting piece. I would never think of critiquing the ingredients of a food product. Also I think W, is not used aswell.

Reviewed by Calendula Petal (Reader)
err, nice to see you are fully utilising your hardware resources to their full potential.....I think.
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