Word of the Month poems?

Hi everyone,

I was just checking on the status of Word of the Month for November. We got off to a great start but it has now been ten days since the last poem was posted. Remember, the word this month is SPREE. So . . .

Hoot ‘n’holler,
Cackle with glee,
We need our poets
To go on a spree!

Students, students,
Where can you be?
We need you poets
To go on a spree!

Newbies, oldies,
Listen to me,
We need you all
To go on a spree!

A waylaid panelist shares his mentor texts

BULLETIN: Linda Baie tried to leave a comment on the IRA site and said it’s not working. Each time you type in the code, it’s rejected. I just tried twice and had the same results. I sent a note to the editor and hopefully the problem will be cleared up soon. I’ll let you know when it is. Thanks for your patience.

Hi everyone,

Remember when I got shut out of the Google Hangout with Ruth Culham, Kate Messner, Lisa Yee, and Varian Johnson? The link I was provided would not work that evening even though it had worked the night before when we rehearsed. I gave up trying when there were only 15 minutes left in the program. Next day I was invited to post my own list of suggested mentor texts on the IRA blog, so I did. And now it’s posted. If you’re interested, here’s the link.


What a difference a day makes

David giving brief remarks

Hi everyone,

Yesterday afternoon I spent a wonderful hour visiting with Mrs. Hill’s communication arts class at my alma mater, Jarrett Middle School, in Springfield, Missouri. What fun to return after so many years to meet some students and answer questions. I had the honor of being interviewed by the class. The kids will now write articles about the experience and a winner will be chosen to be published in the school paper. You can imagine how flattered I felt to be selected as an alum to write about. Thanks to all!

I’m happy to report that the missing muse showed up yesterday and that first elusive poem fairly jumped onto the page early on. I tweaked it later (after coming home) and am pleased with it. Now I’m set to get this book going.

Busy day today. At 10:00 I’ll do a story hour and sign books as part of a fund raiser for Springfield’s Civic Symphony. This will be another nostalgic event for me. Back in the day I played principal trombone in the Symphony and have a picture on my wall of the orchestra in 1957. I sure had more hair then!

After that I’ll attend the Springfield’s Writers’ Guild to share lunch while listening to Kim Piddington talk about agents. When she’s done, it will be my turn at 1:00 to speak. My title is, “In It for the Long Haul, from Then to Now, a Writer’s Fifty-Five Year Journey.” http://springfieldwritersguild.org

So yesterday and today will make a nice closing to the week, and I even got a poem out of it.


Not every day is a winner

Hi everyone,

I think my muse left town yesterday. I spent the day trying to get started on the first poem for a new collection I have in mind.


I have my theme. I know what I want to say. I read and made notes and thought and wandered around the house.


I drafted an introduction for the group, which seems okay. But that first poem just wouldn’t step forward.

I tried verse. Tried free verse. Tried funny. Tried serious. Nothing nothing nothing worked. But unless you get the first one to set the stage for all that follows, you might as well stop right there until the water clears.
In the end I worked in the yard for a while to let off some steam and promptly pricked my left thumb. Bleeding into a paper towel, I threw a pity party for myself and made a cup of tea. (Lipton’s, Jane. My coffee? Folgers of course.)

Today I’m back on the rock, sore thumb and all.David on rock 5 I WILL get this going!


Looking back

Hi everyone,

When I started Word of the Month Poetry Challenge in October 2009, the first word was DIRT. We had a lot of fun with that one. SPREE is serving us well in November but if anyone is inclined to add a second poem, try getting down and dirty. Here’s mine from 2009.

October 2009
Word: Dirt

I liked you the first time we met,
at least I thought I would like you
if I got to know you,
except for your nails.
I couldn’t help noticing
the foul moon-rims of grime
clutching at your cuticles.

The thought occurred that dirt,
which you like enough
to pack at your fingertips,
might have a poem buried in it.

Honestly, I had little hope for my subject.
It’s hard to hold something in high esteem
that one tracks in on one’s shoes.
Only my respect for you kept me going.

Turns out there’s more
than meets the eye with dirt.
Roots slow-motionly wriggling down
like moles in the dark after water
prize off tiny flecks of bedrock.
Mix enough rock parts with humus
and you’re getting somewhere, dirt-wise.

Humus is a dry gumbo,
the handiwork of dentrivores,
a multiracial gang of ruffians, mostly
fungi, worms, bacteria, mites, and insects –
mercenary goblins that dine on decay,
slurping dead plants and animals
till you could easily mistake diner for dinner.

Thanks to dentrivores, not all dirt
tastes the same. But considering
the supply you keep handy,
I may not be telling you something
you don’t know.

When you think about dirt,
and I can’t seem to stop,
dirt provides lodging for a zoo
of creatures that grub, grope, and burrow
through its gritty underworld.

Mixed with water dirt fortifies bird nests and
helps mud daubers stick their homes
in annoying places such as
above my garage door.

By contrast, dust courts the corporate crowd.
Swirling like a truant genie,
dust grants wishes to carwash owners
and supports entire industries
of polish, soap, and facial tissue makers,

but I digress. The thing is, I was right
about liking you in spite of your nails
crammed with limestone powder, worm goo,
and the odd molecule of bee leg or roach
(all in a day’s work for humus).

But I can’t resist suggesting that dirt
should stick with dirt and you might consider
returning your private stash to the garden
or perhaps to a trash sack headed to
the dump. Then, I believe,
at least I hope very much, that
I can put down this thing about dirt
and wipe it off of my worry list.