Olive Oil Poached Eggs with Toast Points and Hot Honey for Why I Never Finished My Dissertation

I do believe this is the first poetry collection I’ve reviewed here at EE.   I’m pleased to offer up Why I Never Finished My Dissertation by Laura Foley.  I received a free book from the author and TLC Book Tours for an honest review.   

 Praise for the book and author:

Named one of seven Best Indie Poetry Books of 2019 by Kirkus.

Foley’s writing may appear sparse and reserved but it harbors a subtle power. The poet’s greatest strength is her acute sense of observation. She possesses the ability to thread sensuousness into the fabric of everyday life. . .This is a dazzling volume of poetry that delights in crisp imagery and tender recollections.
—Kirkus Reviews

Eric Hoffer/Montaigne Medal Finalist
Eric Hoffer/da Vinci Eye Finalist
Eric Hoffer Book Award Honorable Mention

The quest to discover why this poet does not complete a dissertation, leads to an astonishing read. This collection reveals a wide range of life-changing experiences beginning with a marriage to a hunchback Moroccan, almost twice the writer’s age. Other poems express revelations and observations that arise out of travels, such as a trip to Tehran, where the poet stands on a bullet-riddled balcony watching a hurried crowd “spill Khomeini from his coffin.” The signature poem unveils a suddenly busy domestic life in a second marriage with three young children and puppies. Toward the end readers experience love which results in marriage with a same-sex partner. No matter one’s personal story, what makes a story great is how it is told.
—The US Review of Books

About the author:

Laura Foley won first place in the Common Goods Poetry Contest, judged by Garrison Keillor (her poem “Gratitude List” was read on Prairie Home Companion); the 2016 National Outermost Poetry Prize, judged by Marge Piercy; Harpur Palate’s Milton Kessler Memorial Poetry Award; and the Grand Prize for the Atlanta Review’s International Poetry Contest.

She is the author of six poetry collections, her most recent being WTF.  The Glass Tree won the Foreword Book of the Year Award, Silver, and was a Finalist for the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, Outstanding Book of Poetry. Joy Street won the Bisexual-Writer’s Award. Her poems have appeared in journals and magazines including Valparaiso Poetry ReviewInquiring MindPulse MagazinePoetry NookLavender ReviewThe Mom Egg Review and in the British Aesthetica Magazine.

Her work has been published in journals around the world, including New Zealand (Poems in the Waiting Room), Australia (XPressions), China (Shanghai Literary Review), England (Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology and Poetry Society London), Scotland (McClellan Poetry, Arran Arts and Trust), Ireland (Cronnog Magazine and Los Gatos Irish Arts Festival), Canada (Room Magazine) and throughout the USA.

Laura Foley holds graduate degrees in English Literature from Columbia University. Trained in chaplaincy through the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, she volunteers in hospitals and prisons, and is a certified Shri Yoga Instructor. She lives in the woody hills of Pomfret, Vermont with her wife Clara Giménez, and their two dogs.

What I thought…

Every time I pick up a poetry volume, I think, “Why don’t I read more poetry.”  Foley’s Why I Never Finished My Dissertation was no different.

I was thankful for the editor’s “Introduction” as a preface to the work. Otherwise, I might have been a bit lost. It was good to have the permission to embrace the work as autobiographical. “Readers, here is Laura Foley, contained in poems that reflect a fascinating and wide-ranging life” (1). The “Introduction” offers a few tidbits of this fascinating life: a green-card marriage, a sister in a psych ward, a loving marriage with her current partner. The only problem with this information…I wanted more. Foley has had a fascinating life and while I enjoyed her poetry, I would really love to read her prose autobiography.

It’s hard to classify Foley’s style. I found I could make comparisons to T. S. Eliot—“Visiting My Sister in the Mental Ward” (38) and “Dawn Aubade” (73). Others made me think of William Carlos Williams like “Discharge” (40).

My favorite poem has to be “Gratitude List” (81).

The volume is separated into four parts and I will have to reread the book to distinguish what the theme is for each.

If you’re a poetry fan, I would pick this up. I’m glad I got the opportunity.

The Food:

I know.  This is a volume of poetry.  And, I’ve never tried to do a recipe inspiration from a poetic volume.  In “Pomegranates in Tehran” (19), Foley writes of “fresh-squeezed red juice” as well as caviar brought by room service.  “Higher Math” (22-23) offers pierogi, sauerkraut, onions, and white rolls.  In “Blood in Water” (37), an egg sandwich with coffee is mentioned.

I had to default to my favorite poem in the collection:  “Gratitude List” (81).

Praise be the green tea with honey,
the bread we dip in finest olive oil,
the eggs we fry.

—from “Gratitude List” by Laura Foley

Here’s my dish of olive oil poached eggs with toast points and hot honey inspired by Foley’s lines.


First, make the hot honey.

Hot and Spicy Honey

Inquiring Chef

I halved this recipe and amped up the red pepper flakes a bit.  Honestly, next time I will add a bit more.


  • 1/2 c local honey
  • 1/2 t. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. red pepper flakes


  1. Combine honey, vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When small bubbles start to rise from the bottom of the pan, move off heat.
  2. Let the honey sit for 10 minutes. (Note: Set the timer for this. The honey needs this amount of time to become infused with the spice, but if it sits for much longer it will thicken and will be difficult to strain.)
  3. Pour honey through a fine mesh strainer. (Discard red pepper flakes.)

Yield: 1/2 c.

Next, prepare the eggs.

Herbed Olive Oil Poached Eggs

Based on Key Ingredients

You can do these two at a time with a little finesse.  I lacked the talent so I did mine one at a time.  You can reuse the poaching oil to do another egg or two.


  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small sprig of rosemary (about 1 inch)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a small sauce pan, heat the olive oil, herbs, garlic and red pepper flakes over medium-low heat (3-4 minutes). The oil needs to be hot, but not sizzling.  Remove from heat momentarily after reaching that “almost sizzling” point.
  2. Crack egg into a small dish then slide it into the oil.   Return to low heat.  Cook until the egg white is firm, flicking the oil with a spoon or spatula to reach the yolk and other spots that are above the oil.   You can also tilt the pan periodically to cover the top of the egg with oil.
  3. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and more rosemary, if desired.

Yield: 1


While the eggs are poaching, toast some whole grain bread.

Green tea, eggs in olive oil and hot honey.

To plate, slice toasts diagonally and arrange on a plate.  Slide the poached egg on top, then drizzle with a bit of hot honey.  Serve with a mug of green tea.

(Forgive the photo.  My toast really wasn’t burnt…too bad.)

I have made these eggs a number of times since writing this recipe.   It’s very forgiving and adaptable.  The last time I made it, I just used garlic and red pepper flakes in the poaching oil and served the eggs on avocado slices (atop whole grain bread).   That’s my new favorite way to serve these eggs!

Thanks again to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to have this book on my shelves.   For all my TLC reviews, click here.   Please check out the other reviews on this tour.


I’m linking up with Foodies Read.


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