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#23 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2010.

     Joyce and her Small Munsterlander, Watson.

The calendar says, "April 30th," but I can't believe it.

It's the final day of National Poetry Month! *sniff sniff*

Time sure flies when you're busy juggling biscuits and buns, snarfing down candy, cookies, crisp and cake, investigating paprikash, practicing your French and Spanish, balancing on airplanes. Wasn't it just yesterday I served up the wine and appetizers? 

I sure hate for this party to end, but if it must, let's go out with a bang, by welcoming an extra special surprise guest! I was thrilled when Joyce Sidman agreed to join us for the Potluck. She's actually my dream guest, because she wrote one of my absolute, all-time favorite children's poetry books ever -- Red Sings from Treetops (Houghton Mifflin, 2009). Every time I reread it, I marvel at its pristine beauty and soaring lyricism. It's the kind of book that makes you fall in love with the English language all over again.

photo by doozzle.

Today, Joyce has brought the perfect poem to round out the potluck. Remember how we kicked things off with Elaine Magliaro's "Chick Chatter" -- new life pecking its way out of an egg? With Joyce's poem we come full circle -- another egg poem, this one echoing ancient creation myths.

Joyce: I was obsessed with eggs a few years back, and wrote a whole manuscript of poems about them. Nobody in the publishing world was quite as keen as I, however, so that manuscript has languished. This is my favorite poem from the group, expressing my feelings about the perfection, promise, and power of eggs.

photo by Steven Jay Harris.


the  world  was  once
an egg,  plump  and  shining.
Maybe  that  egg   sat  silent,
thinking,  for  a  long  time.  Maybe
one  day  it  felt   like  hatching.  Maybe
it  split  clean  in  two.  Maybe  the  bottom
half  became  the earth, heavy as
chocolate. Maybe  the  top  half
became  the  sky,  light  as  mist.
Maybe  the  yolk  flew  up,
burning,  and  became
the  sun.

© 2010 Joyce Sidman. All rights reserved.

         photo by plecojan.
The "cosmic egg" motif is found in many world cultures (Indian, Chinese, Egyptian, Finnish). Isn't poetry similarly primordial? It predates written language and is truly the heartbeat of humanity. An eggshell -- so strong, yet so fragile. Within its confines, innocence emerging, an entire universe unfolding.

Joyce's recipe contains eggs, as well as chocolate -- something she thinks about "almost constantly."  (Maybe it's the secret to her creative genius?!) The "heavy as chocolate," when combined with eggs and milk, becomes "light as mist." Ah, the inherent poetry of chocolate mousse!

Joyce: The recipe is one my mother gave me. It's a wonderful summer dessert -- easy to whip up and no baking. Basically like eating whipped chocolate. What could be better?

 photo by katbaro.


2 eggs (use pasteurized)*
1 T. sugar
1 T. instant coffee powder, or brandy; or 1/2 tsp. peppermint or orange extract
6 oz. high quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped fine
3/4 cup hot milk
pinch salt

Mix all ingredients in blender for 20-30 seconds. Pour into individual serving dishes and let chill several hours before serving. Top with raspberries, sliced strawberries, or whipped cream for garnish. Serves 4.

*beat eggs into milk and cool slightly

♥ Yum! I love how such a simple recipe promises such divine results. Thanks so much, Joyce!

*drifts away in whipped chocolate reverie*


Joyce Sidman is the much beloved, award winning author of nine children's books, of which Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors (Houghton Mifflin, 2010), is the most recent. She is regarded by many as one of the finest children's poets in the country, and her work has earned a long, long list of awards, honors, and accolades, including: Caldecott Honor Medals for Red Sings from Treetops (2009), and Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems (2005); the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Cybils Award (three-time winner). 

When not teaching poetry-writing in schools or composing new poems, Joyce loves to spend time outdoors, exploring and discovering nature's wonders, large and small. At this very moment, the trees in our woods are wearing her favorite color, the "soft green of early spring." So many birds are singing.

♥ Recent interview with Joyce at 7-Imp.
♥ Review of Ubiquitous at
Wild Rose Reader.
♥ Fabulous post on Red Sings from Treetops by Julie Larios at StorySleuths



Comment on this post for a chance to win a brand new copy of Red Sings from Treetops! Deadline is midnight (EDT), Saturday, May 1st. Open to all; winner will be announced on May 2nd, along with the Poetry Potluck Giveaway winners of The Alchemist's Kitchen and The Poet's Cookbook.

To see all the Poetry Potluck posts, click here.

Today's Poetry Friday hostess is the lovely Mary Ann at Great Kid Books. Check out all the wonderful offerings from around the blogosphere, including the Poetry Stretch results at The Miss Rumphius Effect, where you'll find even more egg poems!

Thanks for coming to the Poetry Potluck this month, everyone!!

photo by jimbo1239.

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan's alphabet soup. All rights reserved. 


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 30th, 2010 11:38 am (UTC)
This almost makes me want to be a kid again and try eating dirt, just in case it's really chocolate. Red Sings is such a beautiful book! And the recipe seems like something even I could make. Great finale! Jama, you've been in serious overdrive this month!!!!
Apr. 30th, 2010 01:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Madelyn -- Joyce, Red Sings, and chocolate. I'm happy!!
Apr. 30th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)
AH! What a way to cap Poetry Month, with Joyce Sidman and chocolate. I'm a huge fan of both. Oh, yes, and eggs. That is one gorgeous creation poem.

Apr. 30th, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC)
Jules began with a Joyce interview, so I ended the Potluck with a Joyce poem. How much do I love that she's also "addicted" to chocolate?! :)
Apr. 30th, 2010 11:59 am (UTC)
tanita says :)
This has been the shortest April in recent memory.
Thank you for a fabulous month!

I love the idea of a cosmic egg -- and a chocolate earth. THAT is a REALLY good thought.

I love that recipe card, smudges and all.
Apr. 30th, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC)
Re: tanita says :)
Chocolate earth! Yay! Definitely an extremely short April. So glad you were a part of it all. :)
Apr. 30th, 2010 12:33 pm (UTC)
Did that cardinal fly south from New England yesterday?

Well, you topped yourself, Jama. I lovelovelove Joyce's work and especially Red Sings from Treetops, which is wonderful from the cover to the last page. Just like your Poetry Potluck series! Thanks for this last, wonderful surprise post!

Apr. 30th, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC)
Wasn't it nice of the cardinal to stop by here today? Just in time to greet Joyce and sing out April. :)
Apr. 30th, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)
My preschool daughter loves shape poems. This week she's requested Doodle Dandies by J. Patrick Lewis several times. She really liked Joyce's Egg Poem. Perfect timing...on Monday the duck eggs her teacher brought into the classroom finally hatched.
Apr. 30th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
Duck eggs -- so cute. How wonderful for the kids to be able to see them hatch!
Apr. 30th, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)
Elaine Magliaro


What a grand way to close out National Poetry Month--with Joyce Sidman! I love ALL of her poetry books. I don't know which is my favorite. Her newest book UBIQUITOUS: CELEBRATING NATURE'S SURVIVORS is another gem of a poetry collection.

Thanks so much for asking me to be a participant in your Poetry Potluck Series. I consider it an honor to be included among the ranks of the other fine poets who shared their poems and their recipes with us this month.


I love your poem "Maybe"--and hope you'll find a publisher for that manuscript of egg poems one day.
Apr. 30th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for being a part of the Potluck, Elaine -- both as a participant poet, and as a regular reader and commenter. It was cool that both you and Joyce sent egg poems :). Great review of Ubiquitous!!
Apr. 30th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
It is sad to see April coming to an end, but thank you, Jama, for making it so fabulous. And Joyce Sidman's poems are a great way to end. I love how you put it: she makes us fall in love all over again with the English language.

Which is what it's all about. With some chocolate, too, of course.

And May will be a good month, too. My book list probably doubled in April, and with classes soon over, and hammock waiting, soon I can get to some!
May. 1st, 2010 02:02 pm (UTC)
A hammock sounds nice -- it would never work out here. I'd get eaten alive by giant mosquitoes. But I can still indulge in chocolate, cupcakes, Ubiquitous, and lots of other good things to read.
Apr. 30th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)
quick mousse?!
mmm. chocolate shouldn't be so easy to make.

Thanks for the post, Jama, especially your shout-out to world mythology and the cosmic egg!

from Laura @AuthorAmok
May. 1st, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC)
Re: quick mousse?!
Writers and poets need chocolate in whatever way they can get it. :)
May. 1st, 2010 12:26 am (UTC)
The first egg photo looks like an oddly-shaped Jupiter. :D

And I am SO making that blender mousse one of these days! *bookmarks*

Thank you for finding poems even a non-poet like me could find palatable. :D
May. 1st, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC)
I thought of Jupiter when I first saw it, too.

I'm glad you enjoyed the poems. There are a lot of misconceptions about what poetry is, what it should be, who reads it, who should read it, etc. Part of the reason I participate in PF is to dispel any notions that all poetry is "highbrow," erudite stuff geared for academics.

I hope you'll share some poetry books with your girls. There's so much more beyond Mother Goose!
May. 1st, 2010 01:19 am (UTC)
What a great blog!
I love the idea of the "egg" book. Don't toss it, Joyce! You never know when things come around. The dessert looks absolutely yummy. It would be great after a delicious meal. Now I have eggs on my mind.

Thanks for all the great thoughts!
May. 1st, 2010 02:13 pm (UTC)
Re: What a great blog!
Thanks for stopping by to enjoy Joyce's poem today :)!
May. 1st, 2010 06:50 am (UTC)
Oh rats, I'm too late, Jama. Oh well. I went to see my son in Fiddler on the Roof tonight. Didn't get back until 10 p.m.

I love Joyce's books. Quite a poet!

Thanks for sharing so many neat recipes and poems!

Laura Evans
all things poetry
May. 1st, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC)
You're not too late, Laura. Deadline is midnight tonight, Saturday :)! How exciting that your son was in Fiddler. Love that musical!
May. 1st, 2010 08:22 am (UTC)
Giveaway entry!
Would love to win this book for my son!!!! Thanks for the chance!

ashleyreynolds1 at hotmail dot com
May. 1st, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Giveaway entry!
Good luck, Ashley!
May. 1st, 2010 10:42 am (UTC)
What a Month!
What a brilliant series of posts you've done and what a surprise ending! I love seeing the mousse recipe hand-written and spotted and stained and well-used! And a mousse that can be enhanced by coffee or peppermint or orange or brandy -- SWOON -- the possibilities!

So, from chick to egg, you've had a month you can really crow about!

May. 1st, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
Re: What a Month!
Thanks for all your good cheer and support, Mary Lee. It was a fun, memorable month for sure. I'm making your Apple Crisp this weekend :).
May. 1st, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
I loved Joyce's "Red Sings from the Treetops." I would be honored to win a copy of this wonderful book.
May. 2nd, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks for entering!
May. 2nd, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
Wow - you've got a bit of everything here! Nice to see your site...

janemaritz at yahoo dot com
May. 2nd, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Hello!
Thanks for visiting, Jane :)!
May. 2nd, 2010 01:57 am (UTC)
I just bought Joyce's newest book at the semi-local children's independent bookstore. It's fabulous (as usual)!
May. 2nd, 2010 12:17 pm (UTC)
Lucky you! I can't wait to see it :).
May. 2nd, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
Squee! Thanks for the poem. I wish the collection had seen the light of day. Must try that mousse.

It's been so wonderful here this month, Jama!

( 33 comments — Leave a comment )

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