friday feast: Lesléa Newman’s “Ode to Chocolate” (+ recipe and giveaway winner!)

“Nobody knows the truffles I’ve seen.” ~ George Lang

Ready to take a walk on the dark side?

Slip into these luscious chocolate beauties, then gently sashay through the lines of this impassioned verse by acclaimed author, poet and editor Lesléa Newman.

Can you tell she  LOVES ♥  chocolate?

Yeah, she’s totally one of us.🙂



I need a sweet, I need a treat,
I need to eat some chocolate.

Dark as wood and so damn good,
If I could, I’d live on chocolate.

Shaped like a kiss, delivers bliss,
The deep abyss of chocolate.

Just one bite, I’m up all night,
Such is the might of chocolate.

You’ll never wed me or even bed me
Until you’ve fed me chocolate.

I’m sick and sure the only cure
Is more and more pure chocolate.

The smallest bite brings huge delight,
High as a kite from chocolate.

I drink it hot, right from the pot,
Nothing hits the spot like chocolate.

A day without, I’m sure to pout
And shout out, “Give me chocolate!”

I must confess, I’m one hot mess
Unless I possess chocolate.

Without that cocoa, I go loco,
This ain’t no joke—oh chocolate!

Before I dribble, I’ll end this scribble,
I need to nibble chocolate!

~ Copyright © 2016 Lesléa Newman. All rights reserved.

Dark Chocolate Lucky Cats via Not on the High Street


Lesléa: I was on a self-imposed week-long writing retreat, between projects, not knowing what on earth to write about. When in doubt, I always turn to poetry and when in double doubt, I frequently turn to form.

“Ode to Chocolate” is a variation on the ghazal, one of my favorite forms. The ghazal originated in Persia, and literally means “the talk of boys and girls” or sweet talk. I took the notion of “sweet talk” literally and decided to write a love poem to one of my great loves — chocolate! The form of the ghazal  uses internal rhyme and a refrain at the end of the second line of each couplet. It does not tell a story like a narrative poem, but is unified by theme.

Here is my favorite recipe — easy and delicious!

Calypso's No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Cookies To Die For!

  • Servings: makes about 20
  • Time: 50 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 drops pure almond extract (for variety, vanilla extract can also be used
  • 3-3/4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted (I use chocolate chips)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Spread coconut onto parchment, place in oven, and toast until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on it, because it is easy to burn! Remove from oven and cool completely.

In a medium bowl combine toasted coconut, almond or vanilla extract, and melted chocolate. Stir gently until combined. Press about 1 tablespoon of mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Place in refrigerator for 1/2 hour and keep there until ready to serve.

Bet you can’t eat just one!


Lesléa Newman is the author of 70 books for readers of all ages including the poetry collections NOBODY’S MOTHER; STILL LIFE WITH BUDDY; and OCTOBER MOURNING: A SONG FOR MATTHEW SHEPARD (novel-in-verse). Her children’s books include KEZEL, THE CAT WHO COMPOSED (2016 Sydney Taylor Award Winner); A SWEET PASSOVER (complete with matzo brei recipe!); and HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES. Her literary awards include poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation. From 2008-2010 she served as the poet laureate of Northampton, MA. Currently she teaches at Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing program. Her newest poetry collection, I CARRY MY MOTHER, which explores a daughter’s journey through her mother’s illness and death and her own grief, has just been published.


Thanks so much for sharing your poem and recipe, Lesléa! We’re always up for a chocolate fix.🙂

♥ Other Lesléa Newman poems at Alphabet Soup:



Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful comments about the book last week. We are pleased to announce that the giveaway winner is



none other than




the one and only



Robyn Hood Black!!

Congratulations, Robyn!!

Please send your snail mail address so we can get the book out to you right away!


poetry fridayThe beautiful and fetching Karen Edmisten (who measures out her life in coffee spoons) is hosting the Roundup today at her shockingly clever blog. Do go and make your visit.🙂


wkendcookingiconThis post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your bibs and aprons, and come join the fun!


“I’m pretty sure that chocolate keeps wrinkles away, because I have never seen a 10-year-old with a Hershey’s bar and crow’s feet.” ~ Amy Neftzger

Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

56 thoughts on “friday feast: Lesléa Newman’s “Ode to Chocolate” (+ recipe and giveaway winner!)

  1. I am in my kitchen salivating over shoes…..and I’m not on pinterest or my favorite shopping site. LOL! I love the pomes and the idea of chocolate poetry! We keep chocolate in the library for our school staff…..for “medicinal purposes”. I love that Leslea Newman is one of us! Thanks for sharing such a fun and informative post. See you over at Karen Edmisten’s for some more Poetry Friday!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I must steal that Amy Neftzger quote and make it TRUE!!!🙂 Add cherries to those biscuits and I think they would be my definition of perfection.🙂 (Because chocolate & coconut always tastes sublime with cherries, in my opinion!)

    Also – I love those Lucky Cats. I am fairly certain we don’t get those in Australia…:\ But I can see a trace of the katswhiskers in them. It’s in the ears, methinks…


  3. Kat’s idea of adding cherries sounds good to me. Delicious! I can’t decide whether “You’ll never wed me or even bed me/Until you’ve fed me chocolate” or “I must confess, I’m one hot mess/Unless I possess chocolate” is my favorite. Great use of the form!


  4. I love that Leslea Newman had few ideas of what to write, so gave us this delicious poem, waking up the day, Jama. Glad also to hear of her latest book. I imagine you have been drooling over this poem, and the cookies, too! Thank you!


  5. I can relate! It tastes so great!
    My favorite treat is chocolate!

    Favorite line — “I drink it hot, right from the pot”
    And I love the no-bake chocolate cookies. My sisters and I made them many times because they’re perfect for every occasion.


  6. Oh. My. Goodness. The perfection of her every word in this form, and the TRUTH of stanza four. I have a love/hate relationship with chocolate because I can’t eat it after noon if I want to sleep!


  7. Those shoes!!!! And what a luscious ode to chocolate. Yummmmm. Maybe I’ll have to have a hot chocolate this afternoon! I must keep those cookies in mind — would be easy to make a small batch when we’re craving just a little something sweet after dinner.


  8. Are those actually chocolate shoes? So creative, I am a huge fan of dark chocolate but these lovely creations are too pretty to cut or bite into. Nah, just kidding! I’d eat them right now!


  9. What fun! Chocolate is one of my lifetime joys though due to recent high cholesterol levels, it’s banned from my diet. I never thought I could survive without it! It was a treat to enjoy some literary chocolate anyway–especially since the real stuff is far away from my grasping hands. Thank goodness for red wine, my new treat!


  10. A bit of adapting – using the 88 or 90% cocoa chocolate bars and unsweetened coconut – I think I can have a cookie! Maybe I’ll try – though it is now sounding pretty much NOT like a cookie anymore… we’ll see…


      1. I’m glad you were able to work something out –that gave you a little sweet fix while sticking to your dietary requirements. Good idea to crumble some on yogurt🙂.


  11. Jama, I love, love, love Leslea’s poem because in addition to measuring out my life in coffee spoons, I have a tendency to measure it out in chocolate bars. Dark with sea salt and almond is my current favorite.🙂
    Thanks for this wonderful, mouthwatering post!


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