friday feast: topping it off with our surprise guest, joyce sidman (and a giveaway)!

#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 everRed 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.


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

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!!

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


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