Woza Woza, Georgia Heard, and NCTE

REMINDER: Today is Day 3 in our new Woza Woza Poem challenge. I started on November 1 by posting the first line of the poem that will grow all month, one line at a time. After two days, here’s where we are so far.
Today I saw something I’ve never seen before.
A sea of cinnamon swirls surfing the forest floor.

Someone give us the next line. Don’t cross this off as a nondirectional exercise. I see it as a chance to use our sense of word play to fashion a cohesive poem created by many voices. All along the way we need to consider what we’re saying and where we’re going. I hope you’ll join in.

BULLETIN: Tomorrow I’ll introduce my Featured Guest, Georgia Heard, by posting a bio to help you get to know her better before you see her interview on Friday. Don’t miss it!

BULLETIN: On the 20th of this month I’ll present at NCTE in Orlando. My first subject will be Word of the Month Poetry Challenge and the second will be poems for two voices. If any of you have comments or suggestions for my W.O.M. segment, now is the time to let me know as I begin to pull my thoughts together. I need to hear from teachers, young poets, and adult poets about your feelings about Word of the Month. I intend to read a number of poems from adults and students that demonstrate the variety and quality of poems that can spring from one word. Is this monthly challenge relevent to you as a writer? Let me know, and thanks in advance for your input.

Hello Everyone,

I’m still in and out a lot. My wife’s mother had a stroke thirteen days ago and we’ve spent much of our time in the hospital since then. Tomorrow will be Kathleen’s 97th birthday. What a way to celebrate it.

Wednesday is the day when I love to feature readers who volunteer to tell us about themselves and their journey as writers. Unfortunately, no one has stepped forward for today. I know many of you would make wonderful guests and I encourage you to get in touch with me to talk about it.


Are you following the poems pouring in during the first two days of November? Click on Adult W.O.M. Poems and see for yourself. We’re getting more takers and getting them earlier. I’m very glad to see so much action. I have a strong hunch that we’ll see more student poems too before long. Encourage teachers you know to work with their students and post their poems where everyone can read and enjoy them.

10 comments on “Woza Woza, Georgia Heard, and NCTE

  1. Your blog has kept me going when going was tough. You have introduce me to wonderful poets and enjoyable poems. Published authors were kind enough to share their encouraging words and their experiences.

    You have called me a poet when others thought my words were just a waste of time.

    I thank you and all the writers who have added so much joy to my life.

    Mary Nida

    • Good morning, Mary Nida,

      Many thanks for your kind and supportive comments. As you will remember, I began in all innocence about what a blog means or can do. It has been quite a growing experience for me!


  2. Hi David,

    Sorry to hear about your Mother-in-Law. Will be thinking of you and your family….

    Third line suggestion: Second Voice: “A sea of cinnamon swirls, you’ve never seen before?!”

    Word of Month Comment: It’s a fun challenge that helps to keep me writing. Nice to have a little community to share with. I enjoy reading the contributions of others. I am also always very impressed with the work of the kids who contribute. I think some of the poems clearly show us how deeply and seriously children can experience life. I believe this is a very important thing to remember.
    Our culture is very good at giving children practical tools to ensure their success in life. Computer skills, reading skills, math skills…We teach how to do a lot of things. But to be human is also to be in the moment, to be together and to stand, as an individual, before the awesome and the difficult and the pain and joy of life. Poetry can be a “place in the classroom” for such things. In such a place a child can speak and be heard – by both others and self. I believe this is not only a very good thing, but also something that is very much needed in our time…


    • You’re clever, Liz. Introducing the possibility of a poem for two voices, are you? Hmmm. That would spice things up a bit! We’ll see how it goes. Thanks!

      Thanks also for the good wishes for my mother-in-law. I’ll pass them along to my wife. She will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

      Your remarks about Word of the Month are very helpful. Thank you for providing these thoughts. I’m eager to share comments from poets and readers who have followed this project when I go to NCTE. It’s almost here. Ack!


  3. Hi David,

    I agree with Liz about the relevance of not only the WOM poems for students but poetry in general. I found there was always much interest and enthusiasm in the children when it was poetry time, even early primary students.

    As for myself I am really enjoying the WOM challenge. I have difficulty writing on the spot, so what I like about this exercise is that I have time to get inspired and the ‘word’ always gives birth to poems that would otherwise never see the light of day.

    As I read the contributions of our community of writers, I am AWED by the quality and variety of poetry that emerges. Wonderful and inspiring.

    I am keeping you and your family in my prayers.


    P.S. I spent a good part of my sunny afternoon immersed in ‘a sea of cinnamon swirls’ in my backyard, compliments of my maple and cherry trees that are shedding magnificence onto the ground.

    • Thank you, Cory,

      I’m smiling about these cinnamon swirls that sound almost good enough to eat until one has to rake them into piles fading foliage. You poets have such a way of expressing yourselves!

      Thank you for your comments about W.O.M. I appreciate them very much.


  4. David
    Hope your mother-in-law
    is out of the hospital soon.
    May she share many more
    birthdays with you.
    *Word of the Month*
    I mention it at all my groups
    inviting everyone to join in
    and have a chance to win.
    I love reading all the poems.
    And being able to add comments.
    We have grown into a nice
    community of friends.
    It is also great to see a new name
    as another poet begins.
    I feel free to add my lines,
    you are so kind.
    Though others know
    how a poem should go
    I write as words just flow.
    Your site lets us grow
    and have fun as we go.

    • Janet, what I think makes this challenge interesting is that some sort of narrative is emerging and seeks a course that keeps the story line moving. Not only that, I set us up in the first line with a six beat line of iambic feet.

      I’m enjoying the process and the various suggested next lines. At this point we have introduced some sort of small, brown-clad creatures in leather hats so as the “conductor” of this choir I’ll suggest that the next line or lines might want to bring those creatures to life and show us where they’re going and/or what they’re up to. Does that help?



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