Hip Hops: Poems About Beer takes the reader on an intoxicating literary tour that ranges from the temples of ancient Mesopotamia to the brewpubs of Brooklyn.
A surprising variety of poets have penned tributes to beer over the centuries. In the "Hymn to Ninkasi," recorded in 1800 BC, thirsty Sumerians simultaneously praise their goddess of beer and provide practical brewing instructions. The eighth-century Chinese poet Li Bai issues an exuberant call to live life to the fullest in his "Bring in the Ale." Robert Burns offers a toast to the mythic figure of "John Barleycorn," Edgar Allen Poe finds the humor in inebriation in his "Lines on Ale," Emily Dickinson delights in tasting "a liquor never brewed," Robert Graves claims "Strong Beer" as the drink of soldiers and poets, and Tom Waits laments "Warm Beer and Cold Women." Further offerings on the menu include Frank O-Hara's "Beer and Bacon," Charles Bukowski's "Beer," and Sylvia Plath's "The Beer Tastes Good." Whether pulling up to the celestial bar in Keats's "Mermaid Tavern" or to the grittier, jazzier one in Carl Sandburg's "Honky Tonk in Cleveland, Ohio" (where "the cartoonists weep in their beer"), lovers of beer and poetry are sure to find something to celebrate in these tantalizing pages.