Prize fighter Muhammad Ali was always famous for tossing out epigrams along with his punches. Now there's a new outlet for his poetry -- the back of every bag of Champ Gourmet Chocolate Chip Cookies, a new product Ali is promoting.

According to Eddie Arnold, director of sales and public relations at Celebrity Products Inc., the cookies were officially introduced last week, and Ali will be doing promotional appearances in Washington next month. The cookies are sold in eight-ounce bags, reminiscent of Famous Amos' packaging, though Ali -- still insisting that he's The Greatest -- says that "Amos ain't famous no more."

On the front of the bag is a picture of the boxer with his autograph and a pair of boxing gloves. On the back, a poem written by Ali himself, titled "The Ode of a Chocolate Chip Cookie": "My cookies are like stars in a crown./ They should go one round./ My cookies measure up, they were trained to be./ Why buy less than the best?/ Don't be afraid -- be my guest."

The Wallis-Edward Letters

The love letters of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, undisclosed for half a century, will be published June 6 by Summit Books, a spokeswoman for the publisher said yesterday.sk sw

The death Thursday of the former Wallis Simpson, the Baltimore divorce' for whom King Edward VIII gave up the British throne, cleared the way for publication. Edited by British writer Michael Bloch and authorized by the duchess' estate, the book will be titled "Wallis and Edward: Letters 1931-1937," and, according to Summit, will "reveal what really transpired between the ex-king and his family." Weidenfeld & Nicholson will publish the book in England.

Honors for Armand Hammer

Art collector and patron Dr. Armand Hammer was honored at the 31st Corcoran Ball last night for his contributions to the gallery. About 1,300 people attended the annual fundraiser, including Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, British Ambassador Oliver Wright and his wife Marjory, presidential aide-turned-lobbyist Michael Deaver and his wife Carolyn, as well as Sens. Albert Gore, Ted Stevens and John Warner.

Hammer, chairman and chief executive officer of Occidental Petroleum Corp., who will celebrate his 88th birthday on May 21, was feted after dinner with a birthday cake to the strains of "Happy Birthday" played by four bands.

Orchestra's Stolen Instruments

With luck, the Dresden Chamber Orchestra will have all its strings attached again when it performs at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater Tuesday. The 22-member orchestra had an unfortunate encounter with big-city crime during its first U.S. tour. Five violins and one viola were stolen from the East German music group's bus, which was parked outside New York City's Port Authority.

Since the theft, four of the instruments have been located. According to the assistant to the tour manager, who declined to give her name, three of the instruments were taken very soon after the theft to a New York music store and sold for $195. The total value of the three instruments is $50,000 to $60,000. The store manager, T. Hartley Severns, contacted the New York Police Department after reading about the theft in the paper.

In all, approximately $100,000 worth of belongings was stolen, including the musicians' tuxedos and personal objects. The search for the stolen goods is still in progress.

End Notes

On Monday, FBI Director William Webster will present the Hirshhorn Museum with a recovered watercolor by Joseph Stella. According to Lane Bonner, an FBI spokesman, the painting, of the Brooklyn Bridge, was done in the early 1900s. The FBI was unable to identify the owner of the stolen painting . . .

Former Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby McCoy, 32, said Thursday that as a result of the rigors of world-class competition, fear of failure and nonstop training, she became anorexic and bulemic during the 1972 Olympics. Speaking to an audience at Utah State University, McCoy, the winner of 12 international gold medals, said her weight once fell to 79 pounds, and she was hospitalized twice.