Literary Gumbo and Earworms

Gumbo artWhen I heard a recording of a friend’s mom, a Cajun, reciting her Tuna Casserole-Court Bouillion (koo be yon) original poem, I was mesmerized with the rhythm, the beat, her Louisiana accent. The entire feel of the poem, including her wah, wah, wah mimic of the guitar and her pie pan drumbeat, has kidnapped my music memory and forced me to write

With the wah, wah, wah,  and the kou-be-yon,

I’ve got de’ roux and de’ wine stuck in my mind.

So I googled it up ‘cause I wanna know

If there be any poets writin’ ‘bout gumbo.

It might be hard to believe, but there’s worse gumbo poetry than the four lines I just penned. After a two-hour search, I’ve yet to find a decent poem about gumbo. Poets use the word “gumbo” — it’s good for an end rhyme and it sets a scene. But I can’t find a poem that pays homage to gumbo like the poem I heard does to the Court Bouillion. Nothing sings the praises of gumbo’s pepper, roux, onion, flour, file, the dark brown beauty.

I did read an interesting interview with performance-poet Raven (a Californian with roots in New Orleans) who lives in Ireland. In “Gumbo and Haggis” he tells Cuisine Noir magazine “You can’t rush gumbo. It takes time and attention.­ It’s the same simmering process as making a soup — or writing a poem. Writing a poem is like creating a recipe and cooking. . .”  Raven sounds like the ideal poet to write a lyrical tribute to gumbo, but we might have to wait. He says he only writes about three good poems a year.

So, if any of you know somebody down on the bayou who happens to have a toe-tapping poem about gumbo, please share. ­­­But watch out for the “earworm” – that’s the technical term for getting a song stuck in your head. No kiddin’ – it’s from the German.


Getting a song in stuck in your head has several names according to How Stuff Works, everything from “repetunitis” to “melodymania”  to the popular German term “earworm.”

Interview with Raven

Mr. B’s dark roux chicken-sausage gumbo recipe

Thanks for reading!


About thegumbodiaries

On the search for the perfect gumbo!
This entry was posted in Dear Diary (Gumbo Experiences)... and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Literary Gumbo and Earworms

  1. Winding road says:

    I love a Cajun accent. And I love that I now have a term for “getting a song stuck in your head”!!


  2. Though I don’t speak German, the translation seems to work perfectly. Thanks for reading.


  3. Danny Skelton says:

    Sometimes after picking up fresh Gulf Shrimp from Joe Patti’s, on the way home, I get this EARWORM! It goes something like this:
    Shrimp boats is a-comin’
    Their sails are in sight
    Shrimp boats is a-comin’
    There’s dancin’ tonight——-then I proceed home faster to make a Gumbo!!!! PaPa


  4. Scott says:

    I like it though! It’s a simple poem, but a delightful one! It reminds me of my favorite Christmas book (second only to Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”), “A Cajun Night Before Christmas”!


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