“A Handbook for Happiness and Honey (An Introduction to Delight)”

“A Handbook for Happiness and Honey (An Introduction to Delight)” by Jennifer Saunders was created from Anna Botsford Comstock’s How to Keep Bees (1905). Please click here to read the poem.

About the poem and its composition, Jennifer writes:

In the introductory paragraph of How to Keep Bees, Anna Botsford Comstock writes, “This book has been prepared especially to meet the needs of the beginner in bee-keeping. It is not intended to be a complete treatise for the professional apiarist, but rather a handbook for those who would keep bees for happiness and honey, and incidentally for money.” My poet’s brain—which works faster than I do—instantly formed the phrase “A Handbook for Happiness and Honey,” and the rest of the erasure poem was driven by that title. I was obsessed with the idea of crafting a purely sensual poem from Comstock’s practical and restrained guide; I read the guide from start to finish, pulling out the lush language, and can only be grateful that Comstock was such a fine writer and produced a guide that is both useful and written with attention and care. The rich language was there; I just stitched it together.


Also by Jennifer Saunders at Heron Tree: “Winter Passage” and “The Kindness of Ravens.”