the poetry friday roundup is here!


 Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

I must say you’re even more good looking today than you were last week. How is that even possible?!

I see by the twinkle in your eye that you’re hungry for good words and good food. You’ve definitely come to the right place. Please help yourself to some freshly brewed Kona coffee and homemade mango bread. ūüôā

‚ô• TODAY’S POEM ‚ô•

Actually, I’m on a mango kick this week. I reviewed the breathtakingly beautiful Moon Mangoes the other day, and today I’m sharing Lesl√©a Newman’s mouthwatering “Mangoes” from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle¬†School,¬†compiled by poetry goddesses Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong (Pomelo Books, 2013).

Though I’m a tad extremely partial to Week 10 (Food) and Week 11 (More Food) in the anthology, I was thrilled when Lesl√©a’s poem appeared as a delicious surprise in Week 31 (Different Forms) for Seventh Grade (page 165).

“Mangoes” is a ghazal, an Arabic lyric poem that incorporates the repetition of the same ending word in each couplet. When it comes to mangoes, Lesl√©a is a poet after my own heart, for her chosen end word is “heaven.” What better way to describe that luscious golden fruit personifying the sun-drenched days of summer?

Peel it back, cutie pies, and let those juices drip down your chin.

“Woman with a Mango” by Paul Gauguin (1892)

by Lesléa Newman

I’ve got to know before I go,
do mangoes grow in heaven?

Without that treat that tastes so sweet
don’t want no seat in heaven.

If there ain’t none — at least a ton —
won’t be no fun in heaven.

If they substitute another fruit
I’ll give the boot to heaven.

A mango a day like the good doctor say
and I’ll make my way to heaven.

Will a mango slide through my fingers and glide
down my throat as I float up to heaven?

Now say for real, are there mangoes to steal
and peel on the way up to heaven?

If you say no, Lesl√©a won’t go —
no mangoes isn’t heaven!

“Mangoes” copyright ¬© 2013 by Lesl√©a Newman. Reprinted by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

mango slices
via Doodle Lounge

* * *


Please leave your links with the fun-loving Mr. Linky below. Don’t forget to include the title of your poem or the book you’re reviewing in parentheses after your name. I will add your links manually to this post throughout the day.


* * *

– – – Today’s Poetry Friday Platter – – –

1. Steven Withrow (“First Saddle Sonnet”)

2. Cathy Ballou Mealey (Fernalicious Forest Fun)

3. Matt Forrest Esenwine @ Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme (“Book Report”)

4. Bridget Magee (Driving Mom Crazy)

5. Margaret Simon (“What If?” – Saying Goodbye to a Special Student)

6. Jeff @ NC Teacher Stuff (“The Song of the Ungirt Runners”)

7. Robyn Hood Black (Early 19th Century Limericks for Children)

8. Michelle @ Today’s Little Ditty (Losing my keys — and my marbles)

9. Iphigene @ Gathering Books (“You Are a Writer”)

10. Amy LV @ Poem Farm (New Puppies and Third Grade Poets)

11. No Water River (Poetry Comics Poe’s “Annabel Lee” Poetry Video)

12. Tara @ A Teaching Life (Monsoon Season and Mary Oliver)

13. Colette Marie Bennett (“Here Bullet”)

14. Charles Ghigna/Father Goose (“Peach Dreams”)

15. Karin Fisher-Golton (“Butterfly”)

16. Samuel Kent (“Last Day of Second Grade”)

17. Tabatha (Yahia Lababidi)

18. Catherine @ Reading to the Core (“Love Calls Us to the Things of This World”)

19. Mary Lee (Think for Yourself)

20. Laura Purdie Salas (“You’d Better Be Scared” – with audio poem starter)

21. Heidi Mordhorst (Circular thoughts on time travel)

22. Penny Klostermann (two fiddlehead fern poems)

23. Diane Mayr (“Cultivation”)

24. Kurious Kitty (It’s International Tiara Day!)

25. Carol @ Carol’s Corner (Something Fishy)

26. Donna @ Mainely Write (Double Take)

27. Doraine Bennett (Words with Madeleine L’Engle)

28. Tamera Will Wissinger (Marion Dane Bauer essay on Resonance in Verse Novels)

29. MotherReader (Follow, Follow).

30. Liz Steinglass (A poetry retreat and a question)

31. Anastasia Suen (“Not What We Want”)

32. Little Willow (“Locations and Times” by Walt Whitman)

33. Jeannine Atkins (Tugs That Carry Writers Through)

34. Ed DeCaria (MMPoetry authlete Cheryl Lawton Malone in the Boston Globe)

35. Lorie Ann Grover (“Wedding White”)

36. Joy Acey (“Wheels on the Road”)

37. Janet Squires (Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant)

38. Dia Calhoun (“Hammock Queen”)

39. Iza Trapani (“Saving Pennies”)

40. Betsy H. (“Silent Thunder” and new poetry blog!)

41. Jone @ Check It Out (“Library Books”)

42. M. M. Socks (“Teacher”)

43. Karen Edmisten (Linda Pastan)

* * *

‚ô• THE RECIPE ‚ô•

Trust me, you need to make this mango bread sometime soon. It’s super moist, not overly sweet (golden raisins!), and is even better the next day.

The recipe calls for diced mango, but I put mine in the food processor because I like even distribution of fruit in my bread. Since my mangoes were medium ripe, the consistency was sort of like grated carrots. Choice of nuts is up to you — unsalted macadamias are divine and add a nice Hawaiian flavor. ūüôā

mango bread macro one

Mmmm Good Mango Bread
(makes one loaf)

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 cups diced mango
1/4 cup flaked coconut (optional)

1. Grease a one pound loaf pan or a bundt pan.

2. Sift flour, soda, salt and cinnamon into large mixing bowl. Make a well and add the remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly.

3. Pour into pan and let stand for 20 minutes.

4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour.

(adapted from A TASTE OF ALOHA by the Junior League of Honolulu, 1983)

* * *

P.S. Happy 72nd Birthday to my man Bob Dylan! He’s knock knock knockin’ on heaven’s door — probably checking for mangoes.

Have a fabulous holiday weekend, and thanks for poetry-ing with us. Hello, Summer!


Copyright ¬© 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.


friday feast: eating for love

rosemary biscuits
Mini Rosemary Heart Biscuits From the Little Yellow Kitchen (click for recipe)

by Irene Sherlock

There’s nothing to eat, my daughter says, standing in front of the refrigerator, motioning at the bag of carrots, three red apples. She means pork chops, mashed potatoes, food I made before the diet, the divorce, before I turned thin. People smile, congratulate. You look wonderful. They seem relieved, as though my heavier self was somehow a burden to them. How did you do it? As if I’ve broken world records. I tell them thin is lots of water, no butter, endless exercise, bowls of clear soup. Day in, day out, except for occasional graham crackers, thin is never sweet. They shake their heads, Ten years younger, not knowing most nights I go hungry, except last night, at a friend’s house, after Chardonnay and wontons filled with artichokes and crab, after rosemary biscuits, herbed chicken stuffed with prosciutto, saut√©ed in shallots and cognac. After all the love had been laid on the table, I felt my old self emerging — the woman who loves chocolate, who looks her age and surprises her daughter with blueberry pie. Her mouth watered as mine does now. Mmmm, I said, and began to eat and eat as though, now, I can never be filled.

*Posted with permission of the author, copyright © 2012 Irene Sherlock. First published in Alimentum: The Literature of Food (Winter 2012). All rights reserved.

blueberry pie august 12th, 2009 2 (2)500
Classic Blueberry Pie via Thibeault’s Table (click for recipe)

* * *

Certainly, food is love. Most of us love to eat. We cook for our loved ones, comfort and love ourselves with our favorite treats, even fantasize about foods we’ve yet to meet.

Like all relationships, it’s complicated. Eating is an emotional act steeped in joy, peppered with guilt.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this relationship with food is more complicated for women than it is for men. What of that constant pressure to look a certain way?

You can never be too rich or too thin.

One moment on the lips, forever on the hips.

The beauty of this poem is that I think we can all see parts of ourselves in it. I can relate to the narrator in a backwards sort of way. Instead of being complimented for being thinner, these days I receive little looks of surprise because there’s a bit more of me to love. I’m sometimes the friend who likes to lay love out on the table, and as far as praising someone for losing weight? Guilty as charged.

While savoring the casual, conversational lines of this poem, I carefully weigh their bittersweet subtext. We are what we eat, mourn what we cannot. How to satisfy one’s emotional hunger?

* * *

poetryfriday180The always lovely, warm and welcoming Linda Baie is hosting today’s Roundup at TeacherDance. Peruse the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week and enjoy. The beauty of words is that you can feast, calorie free, to your heart’s content!


Copyright ¬© 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

Poetry Friday Roundup Schedule: January – June 2013

poetry friday

Join us for Poetry Friday!

Share anything poetry related ‚ÄĒ original or favorite poems by others, poetry book reviews, musings, teaching ideas, videos, even song lyrics! Read Susan Thomsen‚Äôs article at the Poetry Foundation to learn more. Leave your link with the designated host each week.

4   Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
11  Renee at No Water River
18  Violet at Violet Nesdoly / Poems
25  Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference

1    April at Teaching Authors
8   Tara at A Teaching Life
15  Linda at TeacherDance
22  Sheri at Sheri Doyle

1    Julie at The Drift Record
8   Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe
15  Jone at Check it Out
22  Greg at Gotta Book
29  Mary Lee at A Year of Reading

5    Robyn at Read, Write, Howl
12  Diane at Random Noodling
19 ¬†Irene at Live Your Poem…
26  Laura at Writing the World for Kids

3    Liz at Growing Wild
10  Anastasia at Booktalking
17  Ed at Think Kid, Think!
24 ¬†Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup
31  Betsy at Teaching Young Writers

7    Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
14  Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
21 ¬†Carol at¬†Carol’s Corner
28  Amy at The Poem Farm

* * *

*A link to this schedule can be found in the sidebar of this blog.

**Special thanks to Mary Lee at A Year of Reading for organizing this schedule!


Copyright ¬© 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

poetry friday roundup is here!

“All it takes is one bloom of hope to make a spiritual garden.” ~ Terri Guillemets

maybe3 (2)500


Please help yourself to a cup of tea and a cookie or two or three. ūüôā

We have a very special treat today. Knowing how much you love her work, I asked Barbara Crooker if she’d share a poem especially appropriate for the holiday season. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa, it’s good to remember that no matter what our personal challenges may be, we’re all part of the same human family and nothing matters more than fostering Peace, Joy and Love whenever and wherever we can. Enjoy her poem and all the other poems being shared in our friendly circle this week, and may a good measure of Hope always light your way.

* * * * *


I can’t exactly explain the connection, but somehow, I equate the amaryllis with hope. I’d sent one to a friend with breast cancer as a “no special reason” gift, and she reported to me how hopeful it made her feel, something green like that in the middle of winter. She died, and I bought one (the bulb, in a kit), for myself the following Christmas, and it became hopeful for me as well, the green blade rising (that references a hymn) when everything outside was dead, cold, white . . . I’ve given a number of these as gifts for these sorts of reasons, and everyone seems to have a similar response.

"White Amaryllis" by Kay Smith
“White Amaryllis” by Kay Smith


The amaryllis bulb, dumb as dirt,
inert, how can anything spring
from this clod, this stone,
the pit of some subtropical,
atypical, likely inedible fruit?
But it does: out of the dark
earth, two shoots, green
flames in December,
despite the short days,
the Long Night Moon
flooding the hard ground.
Nothing outside grows;
even small rodents
are burrowed in
the silent nights.

Then, one morning‚ÄĒ
a single stalk,
then a bud
that swells, bells
full sail, full-bellied,
the skin grows thin,
tighter, until it splits:
heralds the night
will not be endless,
that dawn will blossom,
pearly and radiant,
and two white
trumpets unfold, sing
their sweet song,
their Hallelujah chorus,
sing carols in the thin cold air,
and our mouths say O and O and O.

~ first published in Confluence, Copyright © 2001, Barbara Crooker. All rights reserved.


"Still Life with Amaryllis, Evening" by James Aponovich (2012)/Clark Gallery
“Still Life with Amaryllis, Evening” by James Aponovich (2012)/Clark Gallery

* * * * *

Now, please leave your poetry links with Mr. Linky, and don’t forget to add the title of your poem or book in parentheses after your name. I will update this post with your info throughout the day.

* * * * *


1. Iza Trapani (Pet Names)

2. Jeff @ NC Teacher Stuff (Waterloo Sunset)

3. Laura Purdie Salas (Cherries in the Sun)

4. Laura Purdie Salas (15 Words or Less)

5. Diane Mayr (Spark)

6. Kurious Kitty (A Robert Frost Christmas Card)

7. KK’s Kwotes (Robert Frost)

8. Matt Forrest Esenwine (Not So Easy)

9. Steve Petersen (This Happens)

10. Linda Baie (Robert Louis Stevenson)

11. Robyn Hood Black (A Christmas Carol’s 170th Birthday)

12. Violet Nesdoly (Ben’s Quilt)

13. Charles Ghigna (The Snooze Cruise, Picking Out a Christmas Tree)

14. Vikram Madan (An original poem inspired by Renee LaTulippe’s ‘Bitter Snits’)

15. April Halprin Wayland/Teaching Authors (Winter Solstice: Girl Talking to the Sun)

16. Matt Goodfellow (Jean Genies)

17. Matt Goodfellow (ADVENTure)

18. Matt Goodfellow (Miss Bouquet’s End of Year¬† Class Comments)

19. Greg Pincus (Visit from Ken Nesbitt)

20. Laura Shovan (new postcard poem, The Mosquito)

21. Poem Farm (Look Up)

22. Tabatha (Walt Whitman)

23. Myra @ Gathering Books (Self Knowledge by Kahlil Gibran)

24. Janet (Bright Field)

25. Mary Lee (Ending ‘Self Esteem Week’)

25. Tara @ A Teaching Life (Visiting The Poem Farm: Indian Summer)

26. Donna (Deck the Hulls)

27. Liz Steinglass (Spark 18: Red Dress)

28. Heidi Mordhorst (Spark 18: We Be)

29. Margaret (Classroom poems inspired by Dickinson’s ‘There’s a Certain Slant of Light’)

30. Shelf-employed (original STEM haiku)

31. Doraine Bennett (The Snowflake)

32. Bridget Magee (Off to the Library)

33. Jone (Draw by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater)

34. Little Willow (Starlings in Winter by Mary Oliver)

35. Sylvia Vardell/Poetry Friday Anthology (Christmas Is by George Ella Lyon)

36. Sylvia Vardell/Poetry for Children (Bib of Christmas Poetry)

37. Jeannine Atkins (National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry)

38. JoAnn Early Macken (Meteor Shower)

39. Janet Squires (The World’s Greatest Poems by J. Patrick Lewis)

40. Lorie Ann Grover (Directed)

41. Joy Acey (Christmas Star)

42. Ruth (This Peace)

* * * * *

‚ô• For more about Barbara Crooker’s work, please visit her Official Website.

‚ô• Other Barbara poems at Alphabet Soup:

This will be my last Poetry Friday post for 2012. Thanks for joining us today and for visiting this past year. I appreciate all your poetry love and look forward to sharing more tasty poems in 2013. Have a joyful, supremely delicious holiday!!

Copyright ¬© 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

Poetry Friday Roundup Schedule: August – December 2012

Join us for Poetry Friday!

Share anything poetry related ‚ÄĒ original or favorite poems by others, poetry book reviews, musings, teaching ideas, videos, even song lyrics! Read Susan Thomsen‚Äôs article at the Poetry Foundation to learn more. Leave your link with the designated host each week.

17 Andi at A Wrung Sponge
24 Dori at Dori Reads
31 Sylvia at Poetry For Children
14 Diane at Random Noodling
21 Renee at No Water River
28 Marjorie at Paper Tigers
12 Amy at The Poem Farm
19 Irene at Live Your Poem…
26 Linda at TeacherDance
2 Donna at Mainely Write
16 Anastasia at Booktalking
23 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
28 Carol at Carol’s Corner
**A link to this Roundup can be found in the sidebar of this blog.
Copyright ¬© 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.