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ISBN: 978-1-937854-99-7
Categories Poetry

From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes

Publication Date: June 2014


Adapted from a collection of household instructions originally published in 1901, From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes bastardizes everyday tasks such as dyeing silks, brewing beer, fabricating paint and, of course, curing small pox and twists them into odd, dark poems. The pains of adolescence, the simple failure of love, the thrill of newfound lust-this collection outlines all the crests and troughs of our modern existence.


What a mesmerizing, bossy, unstandardized book. It’s hard to know what to compare it to, other than its near-namesake, but why would you. B.C. Edwards has (re)invented something here that keeps telling you exactly what it wants, what to do-yet finally you have no idea what it wants, or what to do. Well, it knows, but you have to read it to the end to find out, and by then it’s too late: everyone’s bleaching skeletons and writing in silver and trying to figure out what to do with all the love.

-Mark Bibbins,Entering From The Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes is like being left alone in a strange and secretive museum of marvelous oddities. Each poem is a new cupboard of the mind, filled with rare and revealing objects that sometimes delight and sometimes destroy. Eerie poems that plumb the depths of longing are matched with haunting, modern love poems that hum on in the dark. In this smart and surreal debut, Edwards brilliantly exposes the many lost things within us “until there is no perspective closer than this.”

-Ada Limón,After reading Edwards’ book, I still don’t know what to make of it. I know it’s a collection of recipes, and that each of these recipes is part curse, part love poem, and part black-hole. I know that the recipes embody epiphanic tangents which deposit their readers into zones of mystery and darkness. I know that they induce a vertiginous feeling, but the vertigo is soft and inviting. I know that the book is ostensibly a collection of poems, but the “poems” it contains outstrip that classification with each idiosyncratic colloquialism and shimmering line they contain. Most importantly I know that this strange book brings me rare comfort by its insistence that truly, I know nothing about love, or poetry, or chaos, or language. Nothing at all.

-Ben Mirov

About the Author

B.C. Edwards

B.C. Edwards is a producer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and attended the graduate writing program at The New School in New York. The winner of the 2011 Hudson Prize for Fiction, he is the author of the collected stories The Aversive Clause (Black Lawrence Press, 2013) as well as a chapbook To Mend Small Children, (Augury Books, 2012) and full length collection of poetry From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes (Black Lawrence Press, 2014). His work has appeared in Bomb, The Brooklyn Rail, Mathematics Magazine, Hobart and others.  He was raised in Newburyport, Massachusetts and lives in Brooklyn.

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