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So, are you drooling over this beautiful bowl of lentil soup with fresh berries on the side?

Well, drool is all you're gonna do, because today, there will absolutely, positively be NO SOUP FOR YOU!

That's right. No slurping or sipping or swallowing or anything else. I realize it goes counter to everything I stand for around here, but today's a special day and I'm making an exception.

Bouillabaisse by Zen Chef/flickr.

Remember last week's cookie fest with Mr. Dumpty? Diane Lockward, the fabulous poet who created that scrumptious poem, has graciously granted me permission to post yet another delectable delight from her latest book, Temptation by Water. What could be better than melt-in-your-mouth cookies, you ask? Soup, of course! 

Mulligatawny by anjuli_ayer/flickr.

I swear I've never actually met Diane, but it certainly seems she's writing many of her poems just for me ☺. Recently, I asked her about the genesis of and writing process behind today's poem, "'No Soup for You!'" I learned that she loves soup and has a bowl for lunch almost every day throughout the year -- and, *wait for it*, her husband owns a restaurant!


First the poem, then we'll hear more from Diane:


                   ~ The Soup Nazi, Seinfeld

Let the people slurp their soup.
They are cold and famished.
They have longings, desires, hungers,
assuageable only by soup.

That girl, appetite voracious but unsated,
bring her to my counter. I will sustain her with soup.
Bring me your hungry, your underfed, your malnourished.
Bring them out of the rain, snow, and sleet.
They have waited in line for hours, wraith-like,
breathing the herb-laced air -- saffron, basil, garlic.

Bring me the beggar on the street, the alcoholic,
the dope fiend, the runaway, the hooker, the ex-con.
Bring me your love-starved, sex-starved, soup-starved,
the ones starved for affection, starved for attention,
ravenous for fame, for power, glory, money.
They shall be fed from my stockpot.

Mulligatawny, lentil, mushroom with dill,
beef barley, chicken with pearls of pasta,
hearty split pea with a ham bone.
Soup in bowls, in styrofoam cups, soup in crocks,
in jugs, mugs, and tureens.

That young man at the back of the line,
at the end of his rope, down on his luck,
out of luck, his every hunger unappeased,
he shall have his mother's homemade minestrone.

I believe in the power of soup,
ladled, spooned, and tilted into the hungry mouth.
Soup du jour and soup du nuit.
Gazpacho and bouillabaisse,
onion topped with French bread and melted cheese,
chowder thick with clams, pasta fagioli, and pepper pot.

Bring me the pervert, the hustler, gambler,
crackhead, the tweaker, the man who has lost everything.
Arm them with spoons. Adorn them with bibs.
Let them eat lobster bisque.
Let the earth be loud with the music of their slurping.

~ from Temptation by Water by Diane Lockward (Wind Publications, 2010)

Winter Minestrone by diekatrin/flickr.

I do believe I've never read a finer anthem extolling the enduring power of soup, the most egalitarian of foods. Here's what Diane has to say about her poem:

I'm a huge Seinfeld fan and often watch the show in reruns. The Soup Nazi is one of my favorite characters from the show. In one of his appearances, he had hidden all the recipes for his various soups in a drawer of an armoire that got into Elaine's hands. She then threatened to reveal the recipes.

I remembered the names of some of those soups and brought them into the poem. I began the poem motivated by the line that appears as the epigraph. I felt inclined to argue: Let the people eat their soup. As the poem proceeded, I felt the influence of Emma Lazarus' poem, 
"The New Colossus," slipping in. This surprised me as I couldn't even recall the poet's name initially and when someone asked me if the poem had been influenced by Emma Lazarus, I said, Who? But yes, she was there, leading me on.

This poem took a long time and many drafts. In the early drafts, it was much longer. My challenge was to pare it down. When you use a list in a poem, you have to be careful not to overdo it. So some soups got tossed out.

I hope readers will enjoy the music of this poem, the rhythm of it. But mostly I hope it will elicit compassion for the hard times that some people endure.

French Onion Soup by ilmungo/flickr.

I also asked Diane if she could share a favorite soup recipe. She enjoys this particular mushroom soup because it's not a cream soup. I made some the other day and truly enjoyed it. Mmmmmmmmm!


stick and a half of butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 lb. mushroom, sliced
8 cups chicken stock (I use the boxed kind)
2 T parsley
Salt and pepper
4 ounces sherry

In a saucepan, melt 4 T of butter. Add the onion and cook until it is soft and translucent -- not sautéed.

Add chopped mushrooms and the remaining butter. Stir for about 8 minutes.

Push mixture aside and add sliced mushrooms and cook until softened.

Stir in the chicken stock and the parsley and bring to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour.

Add the sherry, mix well, and serve.


Thank you so much, Diane! Today, you've provided us with a wholly satisfying meal to feed our bodies, minds, and spirits. You've inspired me to "pass the torch" and share the love with a special giveaway!


(Sorry, the lovely Ursula is not part of the prize.)


1) NO SOUP FOR YOU T-shirt (size L)
2) Brand new copy of Temptation by Water by Diane Lockward
3) Signed softcover copy of my PB, Dumpling Soup



Just leave a comment at this post, stating your favorite kind of soup, no later than midnight (EST) Monday, February 28, 2011. Extra entries for blogging, tweeting or Facebooking about the giveaway (let me know in the comments).

You can also enter by sending an email with "NO SOUP GIVEAWAY" in the subject line to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com. 

Open to all U.S. residents, with or without a blog.

Happy Slurping!

♥ Today's Poetry Friday host is Carol at Rasco from RIF. Check out the complete menu of today's poetic offerings around the blogosphere.

♥ Related Post: I make the
Soup Nazi's Mulligatawny recipe.

♥ Other
Diane Lockward poems at alphabet soup.

♥ Nice review of
Temptation by Water by Barbara Daniels at Rattle.

♥ Interesting interview with Diane by
Derek Alger.

♥ Diane Lockward's
official website and blog, Blogalicious.


Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan's alphabet soup. All rights reserved.


( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 11th, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
What a heartening post of soup and poetry. Loved reading the poem and hearing about the paring process. Knives everywhere.

Just made some lentil soup, but it's not as pretty as this one. Even with cornbread beside it. I think my favorite soup is minestrone though. Yes, lots of cutting, but it's fun to add this and that and that, too, and....
Feb. 11th, 2011 07:42 pm (UTC)
Mmmmmm, minestrone! Didn't realize you had Italian blood in you, Jeannine :). . . Do you wear a red and white checkered kerchief around your neck when making it?

I like lentil soup, too. So nourishing and satisfying and healthy.
Feb. 11th, 2011 02:08 pm (UTC)
Soup, soup, wonderful soup. My favorite still has to be homemade chicken soup, closely followed by split pea with franks, and then potato soup with chipkaluhs (don't know the spelling - but they're little Jewish-style dumplings!). Thanks for the soup love today, Jama.
Feb. 11th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm a split pea fan, too! Actually, I can't think of *any* soup I don't like, offhand, although there must be at least one or two. I make chicken soup most often. That potato soup with little dumplings sounds intriguing :).
Feb. 11th, 2011 02:21 pm (UTC)
"Arm them with spoons."
Jama, my mouth is craving that mushroom soup. Providing the recipe is so above and beyond... and that's before you get to the giveaway! Wonderful. Thank you. Will tweet. And, oh, my favorite soup: good ol' vegetable beef!
Feb. 11th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks for tweeting, Irene!

Yes, isn't that a great line? I love the last line best: "Let the earth be loud with the music of their slurping."

Haven't had vegetable beef in awhile. Now I'm hungry for it. . .
Feb. 11th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
its funny, i was thinking emma lazarus during the poem as well. funny how language and phrasing enters into our memories and gets tapped either while reading or writing.

now, on the soup front, i pretty much make soup once a week for the fam and the favorite is black bean. saute an onion and (optional) diced jalapeno until soft, add canned black beans, one cup salsa, cover with vegetable broth to cover, simmer 20 minutes then blend it until creamy. my girls prefer a dollop of sour cream on top. i keep thinking one of these days they'll get tired of it but they never do.

anyway, thanks for sharing. and for giving me some recipe ideas for the coming week!
Feb. 11th, 2011 07:50 pm (UTC)
Is that you, David? I'd love to enter you in the giveaway if you'll confirm who you are :).

Thanks for the black bean soup recipe. Interesting idea to combine with salsa and then blend everything together. Sounds like hot stuff!
Feb. 11th, 2011 05:30 pm (UTC)
This is such a perfect poem on so many levels and now I have an outstanding example of a list poem for my Poetry Push. Diane is fast becoming one of my new favorite poets. Thanks for the introduction.

As you know, I'm not big on soup (I made myself eat chicken noodle soup when I was sick and I could think was that I was cheated out of a chicken dinner.) But I had a soup once that was so good that I forgot it was soup. I don't know it's official name but it was like melted cheese. A cheese soup?
Feb. 11th, 2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
Good enough, cheese soup it is! Yes, and it's great that you were doing list poems this week, and now here's Diane's great example of one. :)
Feb. 11th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
Great poem, and I am copying out the mushroom soup. I love soup. Just invented one made with leftover roast pork, navy beans and a package of frozen mixed vegetables (Porky Pig Soup).
My favorite soup is Cocido, a Spanish peasant soup I learned to make in Almonaster la Real, Spain in the 60's. I make it with dried garbanzo beans brought to a boil and allowed to sit for an hour. In Spain I threw in a chunk of fatback, but I don't any more. Add cut up peeled pumpkin or winter squash and cook for an hour then add 2 to 4 sliced potatoes, a bunch of chicken (I use boneless skinless breasts and thighs) a sliced chorizo (or Italian dried sausage which actually tastes more like Spanish chorizo), and cook till the pumpkin/squash is mostly dissolved. Add fresh tomatoes (big ones cut into wedges or grape tomatoes) slices of green pepper, and a bag of frozen green beans just before suppertime and cook till the beans are done. I often also add extra cubed pumpkin/squash so there are lumps of it as well as the squash flavored liquid. I add lots of salt.
Feb. 11th, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks for the recipe, Patty! I've never had Cocido. I can tell by the ingredients that it must be yummy!

Love the name "Porky Pig Soup." Though of course I wouldn't say it out loud in front of Babe.:D
Feb. 11th, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC)
I arrived at your post slightly hungry...and leave ravenous!
Feb. 12th, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
A good thing, yes? Thanks for stopping by :).
Jun. 18th, 2011 06:33 pm (UTC)
Hey, that post lveaes me feeling foolish. Kudos to you!
Feb. 11th, 2011 11:32 pm (UTC)
I. love. that. poem.

Garlic soup RULES.

Feb. 12th, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
Garlic soup? Curiosity piqued.
Feb. 12th, 2011 12:00 am (UTC)
Fabulous poem
I'm going out to buy mushrooms now...Yum.
Thank you, Jama and DIane.
Feb. 12th, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
Enjoy the soup! :9
Feb. 13th, 2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
Just last night we finished up a big pot of Brat, Beer, and Cheese Soup, and now this post...I'm plenty souped-up for right now!!
Feb. 13th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
That sounds like some soup! *burp*
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 14th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC)
French onion = great choice! Isn't it fun when the cheese is all gooey and stretchy? :)
Feb. 21st, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)
Yummy, slurp, slurp. They all look delicious. Super poem. My favorite kind of soup is just plain old chicken noodle. Not very creative, huh?

Thanks for the giveaway. :)
Feb. 21st, 2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks for entering, Beverly! I still love Chicken Noodle too :).
Feb. 21st, 2011 08:39 pm (UTC)
My favorite soup!
I eat soup all year long, no need for the cold, it just keeps me going...and my favorite is Portuguese Kale Soup, a roasted garlic, potato, and kale that is not a cream base, but just a super yummy veggie blend, and you top it off with chorizo! A Spanish sausage in case you might no know it from Spanish origin...

E Stelling

Feb. 21st, 2011 10:41 pm (UTC)
Re: My favorite soup!
Portuguese Kale Soup sounds interesting -- sounds hearty and nutritious without being overly rich. Mmmmmmm, chorizo! :)
Feb. 24th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
Pumpkin soup!
What a great idea here, and what a fun blog. I, too, love soup (and poetry!) and can be happy with so many kinds. A recent favorite (which I tried at home) was roasted red pepper and fennel soup, but I think my favorite remains a pumpkin soup made by my friend Judy!

Feb. 25th, 2011 05:50 am (UTC)
Pea and ham soup.
Feb. 27th, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC)
Not too late!
"Arm them with spoons! Adorn them with bibs!" These lines capture the beauty of soup: at the same time as a hot bowl of comforting soup reminds us of our bibhood, our days of childlike dependence, the simple nourishing goodness of soup empowers us for action. May musical slurping fortify us all to do the right thing during challenging times.

Ham and bean, hands down. Onion, sage and thyme, a little parika and cayenne for bite. Mmmmm and thanks to the piggies.
Feb. 28th, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC)
LOVE the tshirt! and YOu!
Feb. 28th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
Love you too, Laura ♥. Hugs to Professor Gibbs :).
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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