In Their Cups

An Anthology of Poems About Drinking Places, Drinks, and Drinkers

By A.J. Rathbun

The twenty-first-century drinking revolution is in full swing, with people devoting quality time to sipping chilled cocktails, sharing wine and beer, and sipping digestifs and other after-dinner delights. These singular moments mirror past traditions, becoming part of a larger legacy of people who laugh and sing and whisper with glass in hand. A good drink loosens the tongue, enthralls the mind, and increases the craving for community.

Mixologist and poet A.J. Rathbun has compiled a wide range of drinking poems that range from time-honored classics to freshly minted marvels. It’s a cocktail party where poets from throughout the centuries gather around the bar to spin stories, odes, songs, sorrows, and happiness, surrounded by bottles, shakers, ice, you, and your friends.


“ ‘Souls of poets dead and gone,’ goes the line from Keats, but A.J. Rathbun’s wonderful In Their Cups brings them back, at least for a few more drinks, and we too are invited in. And what company we enjoy: we can imagine classic poets as diverse as Catullus and Du Fu speaking to polar opposite modernists like Cesare Pavese and Apollinaire, perhaps interrupted here and there by diverse contemporary voices such as Mark Halliday and William Olsen. Rathbun has created a unique imaginary world here, adding a couple of his own fine poems to the conversation, where we can hear, with Richard Hugo, the ‘dusty jukebox cracking’ on every page. This is a book you’ll want to raise a glass to.” —Richard Jackson, author of Resonance and Unauthorized Autobiography: New and Selected Poems

“Barroom poets have been a constant in the drinking world ever since the first liquored-up lyricist unspooled a string of verse over a flagon of wine. With In Their Cups, A.J. Rathbun takes readers through the literature of libations, reminding us one poem at a time that artful words are indelibly linked with fine drink.” —Paul Clarke, Imbibe Magazine contributing editor and proprietor of

Book Details


Published: October 2010
Pages: 128
Trim Size: 5 x 7 1/8 in.
Interior Design:
1 Color

Press Photos

Book Cover »