And our June Hall of Fame Poet is . . .

I’m proud to announce that this month’s Hall of Fame Poet is from my own hometown! Virginia (V.L.) Gregory is our top vote getter and so will wear the crown for the month of June. Congratulations, Virginia. Way to go for Springfield, Missouri! Obviously I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed your poem.

Steven Withrow and Liz Korba also did well but are ineligible to win again during this twelve-month period. Julie Krantz, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, and Cherie Geisler Neal also made a run at winning this month and I’m sure they will continue to grow their fan bases as we go along.

My thanks as always to everyone who participated in June as a poet, a reader, or a voter. Here’s to July and another bumper crop of poems inspired by one word.

And the word for July? What else? ITCH. Make you think of anything? I’m eager to see what your fertile minds scratch up.

I have more good news. We are getting quite a lineup of Guest Readers on tap for the coming weeks. Tomorrow you’ll meet Carol-Ann Hoyte. Ken Slesarik is up on July 7 and he’s followed by Wendy Singer on July 14 and Nancy Gow on July 21. Wendy and Nancy took Carol-Ann’s advice to send me a picture and poem. They all live in Montreal.

I hope many others will take Carol-Ann’s advice too!

Sometime soon we’ll have another Friday Featured Guest. As we speak, Charles Waters is at work on an interview. So we have plenty to look forward to this summer and we’ve hardly begun!


Word of the Month Challenge after 9 months

REMINDER: You still have time to vote for the June Hall of Fame Poet. We don’t shut off the polls until tonight at 10:00. Each month since October we have enjoyed a number of strong efforts and I think the poems in June rank very high on the list.

If you want to read the poems again before choosing your favorite, there is a line in red letters just above the ballot box (posted the 26th) that says to click on it to read all the poems for June.

Tomorrow we’ll announce the June Hall of Fame Poet and give you the word for July. I think you’ll like it.

We are wrapping up our first nine months of Word of the Month and I’m proud of what has happened. Thanks to you we’ve read 173 poems posted by 68 poets. Slightly more than half (37) of you have posted one poem so far.

Three of you (Liz Korba, Mary Nida Smith, and Steven Withrow) have posted at least one poem in all nine months! Three others (Beth Carter, Janet Gallagher, and Barbara Turner) have missed only once and two (Tracie Stohr-Hunt and Jackie Huppenthal) have posted seven times.

I think these are remarkable numbers which, collectively, represent a treasury of poetry that continues to grow with each passing month. My hat is off to everyone and the invitation is always out for others to join in the monthly exercise of creating a poem inspired by a single word.

Thanks everyone,

Poem of the Week – TREE BONES

By David L. Harrison from SOUNDS OF RAIN

This poem was inspired by what I witnessed one night from the highest point on the riverboat we took up the Amazon. Everyone else was down below so I sat alone on the small, high deck big enough to accomodate three or four people and gazed out at the river ahead, illuminated by a powerful running light that moved slowly back and forth to show our captain the way around tricky, tight turns.

I had never seen so many insects! Clouds of them attracted to the light swarmed above the water where bats dived through them like sharks after fish. In the brilliant light, the trunks of certain trees showed up as white as bones and I imagined them as armies of skeletons marching along on either side of us, marching in the night.


Voting begins today

Okay, I know what I said last month. I said that those who responded to my survey liked Word of the Month Poetry Challenge but were not as satisfied with the process of voting for Poet of the Month at the end of each cycle. So I said I’d change the system when I could figure out what to do.Well I haven’t figured out what to do yet. My first thought was to select my own top five poems each month and send them to some of my poet friends, asking each to pick his or her top three from the list. Then I would tally the votes and announce the ultimate winner.

For those who really do like the popular voting process, I thought I might continue that practice as well as the new one. Sort of like an election with both electoral votes and popular votes. That’s a little complicated but I suppose it’s doable.

Thing is, I hate to change anything at this point because we’ve now completed nine months in a twelve month cycle. If I announce new rules now, I risk confusing everyone involved, including me.

So I’ve decided to sit tight until we finish July, August, and September. Business as usual until we start Year Two in October. Make sense to everyone?

In the meantime, let me know what you think of my notion for new rules when we start the next cycle.

For now, here is the traditional ballot box. As usual, vote for one. I’m sorry to say that we have no young poets for June but I expect to her from our prolific young poets, Taylor McGowan and Rachel Heinrichs during the summer.

Click here to read this months submissions.

Who will be my next guest reader?


REMINDER: Tonight at 10:00 CST is the cutoff for posting June Word of the Month poems. Don’t miss out!

I’m so pleased to have already featured three poets in the brief time since I invited guests to post a poem and picture with me. My thanks to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater from New York,

Charles Waters from Florida,

Mary Nida Smith from Arkansas

for stepping up right away and showing us how much fun this can be.

So? Who’s next? Your fans await!