“How to Winter Bees”

We draw our series of volume 8 poems to a close with “How to Winter Bees” by Rebecca Patrascu, created from Anna Botsford Comstock’s How to Keep Bees (1905). Please click here to read.

About the poem and the process of composing it, Rebecca writes:

I have been a beekeeper for several years, so I was especially excited to have How to Keep Bees as source material. Chapter 13 (“How to Winter Bees”) describes a much harsher climate than that of Northern California, but I wrote this poem not long after I’d buttoned up my own hives for winter. All of the words come directly from Comstock’s text, which is full of surprisingly evocative phrases; I wanted to use so much of her language at first that my early drafts were quite long. Eventually, I distilled those down, changed word order slightly, and introduced repetition to build the mood of the poem and allow it to hint at something beyond the original subject matter.