Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

#1 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2011.

"Any healthy man can go without food for two days, but not without poetry." ~ Charles Baudelaire, French poet (1821-1867)

Waiter, waiter! There's a poet in my soup!

Actually, there are 19 poets in my soup!

And you know what? I don't mind one little bit, because they're all here for the 2nd Annual Alphabet Soup Poetry Potluck, a virtual feast of poems and recipes lasting throughout the month of April.

I must confess that when I invited these poets over, I never dreamed they'd turn out to be so wild and wooly. Some arrived by helicopter, some sashayed right into the kitchen balancing lasagna pans or trays of cookies on their heads, and one of them even likes to juggle Meyer lemons to folk music! After sipping a little mimosa and munching on a few metaphors, they dove straight into the soup bowl and have been partying heartily ever since.


Not to worry. They've all agreed to dry off just long enough to share their poems and tease tempt you with their recipes in turn, beginning Monday. So, are you ready to party? Pick a beret and let the poetry celebration begin! 


Menu of 2011 Alphabet Soup Poetry Potluck Poets (in no particular order):

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Kate Coombs
Susan Taylor Brown
Heidi Mordhorst
Toby Speed
Jone MacCulloch
Diane Mayr
Carol Weis
JoAnn Early Macken
April Halprin Wayland
Irene Latham
Barbara Crooker
Marilyn Singer
Tabatha Yeatts
Jessica Swaim
Jane Yolen
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
Kelli Russell Agodon

*thunderous applause*

I know, I know. Such a delicious line-up! What? They're making you hungry? Please help yourself to a bit of this and a bit of that:

by John Mole

'Grub first then ethics' said Brecht
When the going was tough
As for many it always is
And fine words are never enough.

Presuming at least to offer
Food for the mind,
He wrote about hunger
Of a different kind.

What, despite the consoling
Banquet of art,
Can an empty belly
Say to a broken heart?

Poetry makes nothing happen
As Auden insisted;
Its flow is not water,
It can't bake bread

Yet it measures out hope
In a global cup
And against all odds
Will not give up.

~ from Poetry on a Plate, edited by the Poetry Society (Salt Publishing, 2006)

oregon jess/flickr




Once again this year, Washington state poet Kelli Russell Agodon is hosting a multi-blog poetry book giveaway at Book of Kells. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about new poets and to see what others are reading and publishing. Each participating blog is giving away two books; anyone can enter and you have the entire month of April to do so. Giveaway Guidelines and a list of participants can be found here.

Here's what I'm giving away:

1) Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room by Kelli Russell Agodon (White Pine Press, 2010). This is Kelli's third collection of poetry, winner of the White Pine Press Prize. Here, she "creates a delicate balance between the seriousness of life and a brilliant sense of playfulness. A book about anxiety, spirituality, and the various ways we correspond including letters, postcards, love notes, conversation, song, and prayer." We'll be sharing one of the poems from this book soon, along with Kelli's soup recipe!


2) More by Barbara Crooker (C&R Press, 2010). This is Barbara's latest collection; it includes "Ode to Olive Oil," which I recently featured here. Sue Ellen Thompson said, "Rarely has a book of poems been as aptly titled as Barbara Crooker's More. Propelled by her hunger for beauty and language, she flies in low over human experience, noticing every gesture, every flavor, every nuance of color and light. Whether she is pondering a spill of salt or stepping into a painting by Hopper, Crooker never for one second lets us forget what it is to be alive and how many ways we have been given to express our gratitude for this simple fact." Stay tuned for another poem from this collection, along with a chocolate recipe!

For a chance to win both books, simply leave a comment at this post no later than midnight (EDT) April 30, 2011. Extra entries for blogging, Facebooking, or Tweeting about the giveaway. Open to anyone anywhere in the world, with or without a blog. If you are commenting as "Anonymous," please leave contact information. If you prefer, you can also enter by email: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com, with "Big Poetry Giveaway" in the subject line.

And now, since Robert Louis Stevenson said, "Wine is bottled poetry," let's raise our glasses in a toast: Happy Poetry Month!!


♥ Amy LV has the Roundup today at The Poem Farm.

♥ To nibble on some of the April 2010 Poetry Potluck posts, click here.

"There is poetry in a porkchop to a hungry man." ~ Philip Gibbs (NYT, 1951).

*Vegetable Bouquet from
International Chefs Catering.

**Special thanks to
Hugging the Coast
for permission to use the Emily image!

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


( 58 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
Apr. 1st, 2011 12:16 pm (UTC)
I'm so honored to be a part of this year's Poetry Potluck! Many thanks!

I hope it's not snowing where you are--we've already gotten about 6" here in New Hampshire! I'm not crazy about this April Fool's joke!
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:08 pm (UTC)
Can't believe you're getting so much snow up there! We've been very lucky this year.

Thanks so much for your poem and recipe, Diane :)!
Apr. 1st, 2011 12:17 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm first to comment on Jama's poetry month kick-off! Does that mean I win the Barbara Crooker book?

I'm thrilled you're doing this again, Jama. Last year's poetry feast made April zing by!
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:10 pm (UTC)
Looks like you and Diane are tied for first. Maybe if you read a poem to Winchester every day, I'll consider awarding you the prize ;) . . .
Apr. 1st, 2011 12:17 pm (UTC)
...your Emily in the kitchen!
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, isn't it cool? Found it on another website, and they gave me permission to repost it here. :)
Apr. 1st, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
2 great books! i'd love to win either one =)
Apr. 1st, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
Re: contest
ah and my name and blog:
Re: contest - jamarattigan - Apr. 1st, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 1st, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
Hi Jama! I'm afraid I wanted a beret from the middle of the stack and I made a mess...

Excellent poem for today, and I loved the soup! The Book of Kells was fun to visit -- I'm going to have to go back.
Thanks for including me in the party!
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC)
Ever since you toppled the beret stack, everybody has been playing frisbee with them . . . this party has gotten off to a great start! :D
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:56 pm (UTC)

Happy National Poetry Month! I'm looking forward to your second annual Alphabet Soup Poetry Potluck Series.

I'll be giving away some children's poetry books during the month of April at Wild Rose Reader again this year.

Guess what? It's SNOWING here in Massachusetts today!!! It certainly doesn't feek like spring around these parts.

Elaine M.
Apr. 1st, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC)
Hope that snow melts away soon and Spring makes an appearance (and stays) in your neck of the woods!

Thanks for generously giving away books every week again this April!! Looking forward to your posts!
Apr. 1st, 2011 03:43 pm (UTC)
so delish!! I am going to love these posts!!
Apr. 1st, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
Happy Poetry Month, Andi! Looking forward to your haiku :).
Apr. 1st, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
"Wine is bottled poetry" - yay RLS! And yay you for such as today. Thank you for today's post and the honor of being "on the table" this month, Jama. A.
Apr. 1st, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC)
Delighted to have you at the table, Amy! Please have some more wine :).
Apr. 1st, 2011 06:33 pm (UTC)
tanita says:
I utterly ADORE that poem - it's wonderful.
Looking forward to another tasty potluck this year! And of course, Our Lady Jane, too!
Apr. 1st, 2011 08:39 pm (UTC)
Re: tanita says:
I'm having fun putting this feast together -- nothing like a group of lively poets to play with!
Apr. 1st, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for inviting me to this year's potluck, Jama. I'm thrilled to be in such great company.

And your opening poem, could it be any more perfect for National Poetry Month? It could not!

I love the whole poem but the last two stanzas really get to me, especially the thought that,

"Poetry makes nothing happen"
"Yet it measures out hope"

Apr. 1st, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
Yes -- those are my favorite lines, too. Also the "global cup." So glad you're joining us for the Potluck, Susan. Can't wait to share your poem and carnivorous recipe. *beats chest Tarzan style*
Apr. 1st, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
My name is Stephen Mills and I'd like to be entered. My email address is stephenscott22@gmail.com.
Apr. 1st, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Entry
Hi Stephen! Thanks for entering! :)
Apr. 1st, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
"Yet it measures out hope
In a global cup
And against all odds
Will not give up."


I too love Emily in the kitchen -- and the pile of berets that reminds me of Caps for Sale.

Janet @ Across the Page
Apr. 1st, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
You're right -- it does remind me of Caps for Sale too! Love that book.
Apr. 1st, 2011 11:16 pm (UTC)
Jama, I'm so honored to be in your soup -- I mean, part of your Poetry Potluck this month! And so excited to read everyone's poems and recipes, with your annotations to extend the fun.
Apr. 2nd, 2011 01:42 pm (UTC)
It's such fun having you in the Soup, Toby -- but Kashi doesn't like getting his fur wet. :)
Apr. 2nd, 2011 12:34 am (UTC)
Hi jama ~ Such wonderful images you served up today. I just love your soup bowl filled with names of potluck poets, and Emily brandishing that hefty fork. I am thrilled to be amongst this sterling line-up. Thanks again for including me. ♥ Carol
Apr. 2nd, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
MOOOOOOOO to you, Carol! Thanks for bringing your fun self to the party :)!!
Apr. 2nd, 2011 01:04 am (UTC)
I especially love the last verse of that poem.
Apr. 2nd, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
*nods* Happy Poetry Month, Jenn!
Apr. 2nd, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
This is, arguably, ...no, we don't even have to argue about it...

This IS the yummiest Poetry Month event of ALL! It was so much fun to participate last year. I can't wait to read (and eat) this year's posts!!!
Apr. 3rd, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
Hope you enjoy this year's menu, ML!
Apr. 2nd, 2011 09:47 pm (UTC)
I'll be sure to stop in throughout the month to sample from your potluck! Love the poet soup and Emily pics! And your featured poem kicking things off.
Apr. 3rd, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
Yay! So happy to hear you'll be noshing with us this month, Martha. Don't forget to wear your prettiest bib along with your beret. :)
Apr. 3rd, 2011 02:26 am (UTC)
against all odds/will not give up
Not even when swimming in soup (and THAT edible artwork must have been a challenge)! I'm so excited to see how our lucky pot of poet soup turns out. Thank you very much for inviting me, Jama.
Apr. 3rd, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC)
Re: against all odds/will not give up
It's indeed a lucky pot -- great ingredients!

This particular bowl of soup was a real challenge, since I used a different brand of pasta from my usual and the letters kept breaking. At least two hours of work -- but worth it in the end. I was afraid all the names wouldn't fit.
Apr. 3rd, 2011 03:48 am (UTC)
Please add me to your contest. You can contact me by posting on or entering my contest on my blog:
You can contact me on Facebook: Opw Fredericks
Apr. 3rd, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks for entering. I'll be sure to check out your blog giveaway!
Apr. 3rd, 2011 06:05 pm (UTC)
give away
Hi Jama,

I already have Kelli's book, but would love to be in the running for Barbara's. Please add my name to your list for the giveaway. (I am giving away, too)...

Ren http://tribeofmadorphans.com
Apr. 3rd, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
Re: give away
You're entered! Will check out your blog, too :).
Apr. 3rd, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC)
Mmmmmm... that's one bowl-ful of tasty poets. [You definitely had to be patient to pull off that photo shoot - but, yes, those two hours were worth it!] Thanks in advance for this month of feasting.
Apr. 3rd, 2011 10:11 pm (UTC)
You're welcome -- Please visit often and feast to your heart's content :).
Moira Rose Donohue
Apr. 3rd, 2011 11:00 pm (UTC)
Poetry month
Great pix, great poems - feeling a full tummy without any calories!!!
Apr. 5th, 2011 02:12 am (UTC)
Re: Poetry month
Thanks for entering, Moira. That's the best part of foodie pics -- feast for the eyes, zero calories. :)
Apr. 4th, 2011 07:15 am (UTC)
Please count me in, and thank you for doing this! (eldritch1313 at yahoo dot com)
Apr. 5th, 2011 02:13 am (UTC)
Love the thumbs up! You're in !
Apr. 4th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
Here's to you, Jama! I'm honored to be in your soup. Great giveaway too... I spied January O'Neill's book in that stack -- LOVE that one. Looking forward to more deliciousness. xo
Apr. 5th, 2011 02:14 am (UTC)
We're honored to have you join us! Must get my hands on a copy of January's book. :)
Apr. 4th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
Julie Larios says:
Food for thought, that line, "Grub first, then ethics." That's harsh but true.

As to your potluck, Jama, all I can say is yummers and thanks! I'll be checking in to feast on/read the entire line-up.

Apr. 5th, 2011 02:16 am (UTC)
Re: Julie Larios says:
Yay! Glad to hear you'll be stopping by. You always have a standing reservation at our table.
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
( 58 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

September 2011

All content © 2007-2011 Jama Rattigan. Please do not reproduce in any form without permission. All rights reserved.


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow