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Poems to Drink By

up close image of female drinking a glass of wine while looking at a menu

by Becca Rettenberger (’15)

“They say everyone has a drink. A specific spirit that speaks to them and is their own. This selection of poems is the personification of spirits I’ve encountered. I hope you sip your way through these pages and relish in the words spilled. If, however, these spirits do not speak to you, this will make a hell of a coaster.”

So begins Libations, a passion project of mine born out of boredom and a love of custom cocktails. Libations is a book of poems and cocktail recipes that features tailored illustrations from Salt Lake designer Alli VanKleeck of Hot Slice Design Studio. I wanted a poetry collection that wouldn’t collect dust. I’d rather it collect wine stains, page-tears, and fingerprints.

Libations is now on its third run of printing and has sold over 200 copies. Read excerpts on the next page and find it online:


Title: Where do the lost orgasms go?


he quoted, “of all the gin joints”
he knew Bogart was the way to my heart
Or at least the way to my bed

he didn’t comment on the freckles in my eyes
Didn’t tell me to relax when i tensed
he let me control the situation
Which i hated
But he was here
That counted for something 

After a few bad jokes (him)
A stubbed toe (him)
And two almost orgasms (me)

he made me a gin and tonic

I hate gin

Recipe: A Safe Bet


  • Ice cubes
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 4–5 oz. tonic water
  • Lime wedge


Pour gin, tonic water, and lime juice over ice. Stir well. Garnish with lime wedge and serve immediately. Or pour it down the drain and drink something better. 

Title: Libation


Circe turns men into pigs
Demeter lets crops die
Athena made Medusa a monster
Hera stole Echo’s voice

When I throw a glass of wine at the wall in anger
It’s nothing

When I storm out of the room and slam the door
It’s a trivial thing

When I write about you but won’t answer calls
It’s melodramatic

Every small reaction a meager offering
A moment to express my anger
As eloquently as a goddess
With less collateral damage

Recipe: Venusian Flame Water


  • 2/3 oz. grenadine
  • White wine


Don’t drink and fight. But if you must, white wine is easier to get out of the carpet. Pour into a wine glass and stir. 



About the Westminster Review

The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.