friday feast: celebrating dare to dream . . . change the world

Hooray, hooray!

Dare to Dream . . . Change the World (Kane Miller, 2012) is officially out tomorrow, September 1st!

I’d been anxious to see this new poetry anthology conceived and edited by author/poet/agent Jill Corcoran ever since she shared the title poem for our 2012 Poetry Potluck back in April. What a beautiful book!

The lovely Jill Corcoran.

You may remember that Jill’s inspiration for this collection “came during a car ride, listening to NPR cover the uprising of the Egyptian people against their oppressive government.” Jill was overcome by their courage and determination, thinking that their tweets were like poetry, capturing in just a few words the essence of their strength, resilience, hopes, fears, and dreams for the future.

Why not ask 30 of the nation’s best children’s poets “to share the spirit of dreaming + action = change,” by writing pairs of poems (1 biographical + 1 inspirational) illuminating the achievements of 14 notable individuals who changed their own lives and ultimately changed the lives of people all over the world?

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friday feast: letter perfect

#30 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet.

“Think about it. Every word that has ever been invented belongs to you just as much as it belongs to the most famous author, poet, fairy tale teller, or song composer.” ~ Rebecca Kai Dotlich


Some of you may know that I am stark raving mad about have a teensy obsession with the alphabet.

The mere sight of those 26 letters — singly, in groups, edible or inedible, gets my pulse racing, my heart thumping. I’ve always believed each letter has its very own personality (X is risqué and mysterious, B has an inferiority complex). You gotta admire something that comes with its own sound effects, is open to mingling freely with all its counterparts, and is so versatile it can lend itself to countless words.

In our old house, I stenciled the alphabet in one of our hallways, and every time I saw those letters, I marveled that different combinations of those 26 symbols gave us all the works of Shakespeare, E.E. Cummings and Dickens, the Bible, Pooh and Paddington. Like Rebecca says in the opening quote, we all have equal access to those letters and every word ever invented. Tremendously exciting and humbling at the same time.

Heinz Alphabetti and Numberetti by Leo Reynolds/flickr

Last month, Rebecca and I got to talking about alphabet pasta and soup and favorite words (she and I both love “pudding”). You probably know she’s a champion word collector, part of the reason she’s such a brilliant poet. Imagine my surprise and delight when she sent a poem written just for me! Somehow, I’ve managed to stop cartwheeling around the kitchen just long enough to share it with you today. Thank you sooo much, R!

by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

The A’s are always plentiful.
What would a word collector do
without them, tell me . . .
and the o’s, let there be a ton
(see? Needed one) and the c;
please stack up the t’s, too;
throw in an x here and there
for interest, for spunk.
Dunk these letters in soup
and let them float, call it art,
that’s what it is; a letter biz.
What better way to spend an hour
or a day; a lifetime, really.
Alpha, alpha, alpha, betcha
can’t do it like she does.

© 2011 Rebecca Kai Dotlich. All rights reserved.

Back to cartwheeling . . .

What’s better than admiring the alphabet? Eating it, of course!

 Uber cool edible alphabet set by Don Moyer/flickr.

So, what’s your favorite letter and why? (These days, I’m favoring Y — so strong, it can ask a question even if W and H don’t want to cooperate. “A” gets far too much attention being first, and sometimes is decidedly haughty at being the only letter who’s also a complete word all by itself.)

♥ This post is brought to you by the letters R, K, and D, a beautiful poet with a child’s heart and quite possibly, cute toes.

♥ Today’s Roundup is being hosted by Terry at Family Bookshelf. Enjoy all the cool poems being shared around the blogosphere this week and don’t forget to:


“When I was having that alphabet soup, I never thought that it would pay off.” ~ Vanna White.

 Certified authentic alphabetica. Handmade for you with love for perfect poets. ♥

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

rebecca kai dotlich: heart, sky, stars

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

During the Christmas holidays every year, Rebecca Kai Dotlich makes sugar cookies with her grandchildren. I love this photo of her with three-year-old Mia. I wonder what they’re talking about as they coax all that butter into submission?

For Mia, this is a relatively new family tradition, but for Rebecca, it’s a beautiful extension of what she did for years with her own two children. (“I am no cook — it is laughable —  but I am a mighty fine baker of homemade cut-out sugar cookies.”) All the gold in the world couldn’t buy or replace those precious memories of a warm kitchen, comfy aprons, wooden spoons and rolling pins, clouds of flour dusting counter and nose, the tap-splat of sweet creamery butter, and the sweet avalanche of sugar as it spills out of a measuring cup.

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