friday feast: emily dickinson’s poetry of flowers

“Earth is crammed with heaven.” ~ Emily Dickinson

Please help yourself to Emily’s rice cakes and a cup of green tea.

Hello Spring, is that really you? 🙂

Today we’re greeting the somewhat reluctant, much-awaited season of renewal, rebirth, and regrowth with a little help from esteemed poet Emily Dickinson.

I’m sure you know she was fond of sending friends and acquaintances fragrant bouquets with notes or verses tucked in them, sometimes with a gift of food.

What could be sweeter than homemade gingerbread or coconut cake, nasturtiums and peonies from her garden, and a heartfelt verse she’d penned just for you?

from the New York Botanical Gardens Emily Dickinson Exhibit (2010)

Though she may have eschewed personal contact with people outside the family, Emily was able to sustain longstanding friendships and express romantic inclinations on her own terms. She cultivated and excelled in all three of these pursuits — gardening, baking, writing — as a normal course of each day, all of them requiring practiced skill, time and devotion.

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a sweet memory with children’s author terri hoover dunham


I’m happier than a gator in a gumbo swamp to welcome guest blogger Terri Hoover Dunham to Alphabet Soup today. Some of you may know Terri from her delightful picture book illustrated by Laura Knorr, The Legend of Papa Noel: A Cajun Christmas Story (Sleeping Bear Press, 2006), which tells how Santa delivers his presents to all the “childrens” on Christmas Eve down in the deepest, darkest swamps of Southern Louisiana.

As he’s known in Cajun country, Papa Noel rides in a pirogue (canoe) pulled by nine gators named Étienne, Émille, Remmy, Renee, Alcée, Alphonse, François, Fabienne and Nicollette (I love how some of them are named after Terri’s ancestors).

On this particular Christmas Eve, there’s fog “thicker than gravy on rice,” making it really hard for Papa Noel to make all his deliveries — they keep bumping into stumps and logs and the poor gators’ bellies are getting all scratched up. But they push on and get the job done with a little help from the Cajuns. Of course Papa Noel doesn’t forget to nosh on goodies at every stop.

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friday feast: a three-course meal from the poetry friday anthology

We love you, Sylvia and Janet, the best poetry evangelists on the planet!

Happy Poetry Friday!

Can’t think of three other words, aside from, “Time to Eat!”, that fill me with as much joy and anticipation. 🙂

Poetry Friday has been a part of Alphabet Soup ever since I first came online in 2007. I didn’t know many other bloggers then, but I knew a good thing when I saw it: a progressive party where a mixed platter of poems, reviews, and musings were served up in friendly fashion by a group of enthusiastic word lovers. Most of them were uncommonly good looking and unfailingly generous and supportive. It’s still the best way to end a work week, take a break for a little special something, refresh, rejuvenate and connect!

A couple of months ago, I was thrilled to hear Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong were publishing The Poetry Friday Anthology (Pomelo Books, 2012), which would take this same concept into the K-5 classroom, turbo-charging it with Common Core curriculum support. As a fan of their PoetryTagTime Trio, I assumed this would also be an eAnthology. Well, it is, but it’s also a gorgeous, chunky paperback containing 218 previously unpublished poems by 75 of America’s finest contemporary children’s poets — some are Poetry Friday regulars, some have been Poetry Potluck guests, and a few others I was excited to meet on the page for the first time. Continue reading

chatting with hallie durand about no room for dessert

Put on your favorite bibs, Hallie Durand is here!

Those of you familiar with the indescribably delicious early chapter books featuring the irrepressible Dessert Schneider (who is synonymous with fun, surprises, a little mischief, lotsa spunk and –*wait for it* — fondue), are in for a treat.

You may remember when I featured Dessert First, where we first met this enterprising third grader who loves all things sweet and tries to convince her parents (who own a fondue restaurant) that they should eat dessert before dinner. Remember how she scarfed down an entire pan of double decker chocolate bars?  Clearly a book with my name written all over it. In Just Desserts, Dessert forms the Annoying Siblings Club, since as the eldest of four kids, she’s more than qualified to lead the charge against pesky brothers and sisters.

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big friendly grub, or, the great pea soup adventure

We’ve had lots more Dahlish excitement here in the alphabet soup kitchen. The other day, the copy of  The BFG  I’d won in Becky Levine’s recent giveaway arrived. WooHoo! I was absolutely thrilled because, love Dahl though I may, I did not own a copy of  his personal favorite. Now I can hardly wait to reread it, that is, if I can get my hands on it long enough.

You see, there’s this little matter of the Paddingtons. Over 30 of them live here, and they all love Becky. That’s because she voted them her favorite bear over Pooh a couple years back (Pooh who?).

A crowd of Becky worshippers gathers.

They cheered when they saw her name on the padded mailer and then, I’m sorry to report, there was a little furry kerfuffle over who should read The BFG first. I wasn’t even in the running, and couldn’t distract them with a freshly made marmalade sandwich. Continue reading