New Recruits Episode 7: Gail Morgenstern Reads David McGimpsey

Episode 7 already? Well, If you’ve missed the previous six, you can figure out what this is all about by reading the description in Episode 1.

Gail is my mother’s friend. She and my mom and a couple of other ladies who have all known each other since high school have made a habit of going out for dinner whenever one of them has a birthday. Gail references one of these dinners in her Q&A so I thought I’d tell you about that up here, on the top half of the page, before you go down to the bottom half. This past summer, Gail and my mother and myself and a few of my friends in my MA program went to my cottage in Halliburton. I did all the cooking because, well I like cooking. Gail is vegan so she opted out of my teriyaki salmon and caprese salad in favour of… lettuce. Ok, that was a lame attempt at a segue into the title of the featured poem. She ate more than lettuce. Here she is reading David McGimpsey’s poem “Lettuce” from his book Asbestos Heights.

David, if you’re reading this, before you read the Q&A you should know that she did choose this poem from a selection of three poems all by different poets, so, I think she did like it. I mean, she liked it enough to pick it.


What was your first impression of the poem?

At first I didn’t particularly like the poem but on a second read I found it humorous and interesting. I thought it was inventive to compare college to iceberg lettuce.

Which line of the poem do you like best?

‘blooming in beds of bacon and mayonnaise’


I found the image of heads of lettuce growing in fattening, cholesterol-laden bacon and mayo as being very vivid and repellent. It also made me think of the iceberg lettuce salad your mother loves to order at The Keg.

What does this poem make you think of?

It made me think of going to college for the first time as well as how much I dislike iceberg lettuce. I find iceberg to be the most useless type of lettuce; it’s like eating water.

Are there any words in this poem that you don’t understand?

Yes, I don’t know what stamen or anther means.

Would you like to understand them?

Yes, I guess I could check the dictionary.

Have you encountered a poem like this before? Is this poem different from what you expected poetry to be like? If so, How?

Yes, this poem isn’t like any I have experienced. I don’t have a lot of experience with poems as I mostly read them in high school and then never read poems again after finishing school.

Do you have any questions for the poet?

What made you think of writing a poem using the subject of iceberg lettuce?

Gail Morgenstern is a fifty-something mother and analyst working for a large bank in the investigative services department. She enjoys kickboxing, running and weight lifting. She eats a plant-based diet and has very strong opinions about meat and dairy.

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